Controlled Assessment Part B exam board advice 31 mins
Portrayal in Representations • The work you do in Part B on Representations is looking at the overall message or interpretation. • You need to focus on the opinion or judgement that is being suggested by the representation.
The portrayal of the issue could suggest: • Paramilitaries were to blame for preventing a peace settlement • Other factors were to blame for preventing a peace settlement. Northern Irish politicians, the public, ordinary members of the paramilitaries,
The way this issue is being portrayed in a representation could be: • Very dramatic and emotional, stressing the personal aspect. • Very neutral and factual, trying to present both sides of the issue fairly. • Stressing the importance of an event by showing what happened later. • Selecting one aspect of an issue and focusing on it in depth.
For example • If you have a profile on a social network, you might decide to change the picture and status because you want people to know you are happy or excited about something. • Your school probably has open days and a prospectus for year 6 students and will select certain aspects of the school to emphasise, eg good ICT, good sports facilities or drama productions.
Part Bi • In Bi you are asked to compare the portrayal of an issue in two representations. • As you prepare for this, make notes saying how the impression has been created in each representation. • Then find examples of similarities and differences between the two.
Writing up Bi • When you write up Bi, try to keep focused on showing ways the views in the two representations are similar (and back up your comments with references to each). • And ways the views in the two representations are different (and back up your comments with references to each).
An example to help you understand Bi A girl who went on holiday might portray the experience in a different way from her brother • Impression A (girl): It was a total disaster – I wanted to top up my tan but it rained every day! I hated the food so I ended up eating chips for every meal. I’m sure I got food poisoning as I was violently sick one day. • Impression B (boy): It rained a lot but there were some interesting places to visit. I wasn't too keen on the food but there were always chips available.
How far do these portrayals differ?What NOT to write... • The girl in the first account complains about the holiday because she couldn’t top up her tan and she was sick. This makes it less reliable; she is obviously angry and that will make the account biased. • Remember: you don’t need to evaluate the representations in Bi • Bi does not ask why they differ, just how much they differ!
What a Level 2 answer might say • The impressions in A and B are similar because: • Both accounts say it rained • Both say they didn’t like the food • The impressions in A and B are different because: • In A the girl says she was sick but the boy in B doesn’t • mention this • B says they went to some interesting place but A doesn’t • mention this • This answer is only comparing individual details!
What a Level 3 answer might say • The accounts are similar in the way they both suggest the rain and • the food were problems which affected their enjoyment of the • holiday. • However, they are different in the overall impression they create. • Representation A suggests she did not enjoy her holiday at all, which • is highlighted by the tone and choice of language, using words such • as ‘total disaster’ and exclamation marks to emphasise her dislike of • the experience. Representation B gives a more positive view, saying • that the rain didn’t spoil everything and that he went to interesting • places. • Overall, both accounts suggest there were problems on the holiday • but A creates a very negative view of the whole experience while B • suggests the rain and food did not spoil everything.
Part Bii • For Bii you will look at the two representations you have already studied and also a third one. • In this question you are being asked ‘which representation of the issue is best?’ • You do not have to find the ‘right’ answer, you just need to explain your reasons very clearly.
How to decide what is ‘best’ • People who went on the same holiday might have different views on what was ‘best’ about it: • Hot weather & getting a tan. • An interesting place to visit. • Meeting new people. • Doing new activities.
Reaching a decision • People within the same family can make different judgements because they have applied different criteria (reasons for the decision). • Therefore you need to make it very clear how you have reached your decision about which representation is ‘best’.
Applying criteria • The exam board has suggested a range of different criteria you could use to reach your decision. • You should aim to use three different criteria and explain your ideas fully.
Completeness • You know that an impression has been created through: • the way certain aspects have been chosen to be included or left out • the way the language or the drawing has emphasised aspects • Therefore you know that the representations might not cover the whole issue.
Accuracy • You also know that the representation is a personal interpretation and therefore: • it might not be accurate • it might not be objective (neutral and balanced).
Assessing the representations • As you assess the representations, you need to use your additional knowledge of the issue. • For example, you could use your knowledge to decide whether the overall impression created in the representation is: • Complete • Accurate • Objective
Assessing the representations • You could also discuss whether a representation which focuses on one aspect in depth is ‘better’ than one which gives an overall view of the whole issue. • Or think about whether the overall impression has been distorted by the author’s purpose, eg did he intend to be funny, to challenge a view that is widely accepted, or to make it interesting for people to read?
Which is ‘best’? • It is unlikely that a single representation will be ‘best’ in every way. • You might decide that the overall impression in representation 1 is ‘best’ in terms of accuracy. • But perhaps representation 2 is the most complete portrayal of the issue. • While Representation 3 is the most objective and covers both sides.
Let’s look at the girls account again • Impression A: It was a total disaster – I wanted to top up • my tan but it rained every day! I hated the food so I ended up • eating chips for every meal. I’m sure I got food poisoning as I • was violently sick one day.
How accurate? • In order to evaluate the accuracy of the overall impression – that • she didn’t enjoy the holiday – we can check on some of the • details that she uses to create that impression. The key points • she mentions which made her account so negative were the rain, • the food and being sick. • So we can research the weather at that place and that time of the • year to see if it is likely that it did rain every day or if the • impression is based on inaccurate details. • We can also research the food and see if chips were usually • available in this holiday spot. • We might even be able to find some sources which tell us if she • was sick (perhaps her brother kept a diary).
How objective? • This is not a balanced account. • Everything mentioned is negative and she doesn't include any • positive points at all. • Has she deliberately not mentioned visiting interesting places • because she wants the whole account to be negative, or is it • because she didn't find the places very interesting? • Is she deliberately stressing the point about being sick?
How complete? • It is not a complete account of the holiday as she has only chosen • to focus on the weather and food. • We know they went to visit places but she hasn't mentioned that. • She also hasn't mentioned the hotel – perhaps it has lots of • activities which you can do in any weather; maybe she enjoyed • the holiday because she met some people she really liked etc. • We would need to find out about the hotel and the facilities and • try to find out what she did each day before we can tell if she’s • giving us the full story or just focusing on a couple of days.
What about Impression B? • Impression B (boy): It rained a lot but there were some • interesting places to visit. I wasn't too keen on the food • but there were always chips available. • This account seems much more balanced and neutral than A. • It appears to be more objective because each negative point is • balanced out by a positive one. • But did the interesting places balance out the rain? What if it • rained every day for a week but there were only 2 interesting • places to visit?
Accuracy and completeness • You would need to check the accuracy and completeness of B in • the same way as you checked the accuracy of A. • Just because B includes a detail that is not mentioned in A, • doesn't make B complete. • There could be lots of other things that neither account mentions. • The fact they both say it rained a lot doesn’t mean it’s • automatically true – you would need to check.
Common Problems • Many students treated this as a source exercise and evaluated the representations for reliability. • This question does not ask why they differ, so a discussion of reliability or the context in which they were produced (eg nature, origins or purpose) is not appropriate.
Purpose • The use of ‘purpose’ as a suggested criterion in Bii needs to be linked to the idea of portrayal. • ‘Purpose’ will affect the creation of the representation: a cartoon is usually intended to be a political comment; a television programme may be intended to be funny; an historian may write a piece intending to challenge an accepted view. All of these may distort the portrayal of the issue and are appropriate comments to make. • However, if purpose is seen in terms of reliability and the use the historian would make of the source, the candidate has not understood that Part B is focused on the concept of representation.
Objective • Similarly, some students took ‘objective’ to mean the aim / purpose of the author and again discussed reliability and utility. • Here it should be applied to the portrayal – is it neutral / balanced? • The answer needs to be based on an analysis of the representation, not on reasoning about the author’s likely purpose or bias.
Focus • When considering the ‘best’ representation, candidates may want to discuss its focus. • Is an in-depth piece on a narrow aspect of the issue ‘better’ than a broad overview? • Frequently, the application of different criteria will result in different judgements.
Contextual knowledge Bii • It is not enough to state that a representation is accurate – own knowledge is needed to show which aspects are accurate / inaccurate. • Comments about the comprehensiveness of the representation should not be based on what is in each representation – it is not a cross referencing exercise; own knowledge needs to be deployed.
Common Problems Bii • Evaluating the representations as sources – comments about their usefulness to the historian have misunderstood the concept of representation. • Not supporting comments with additional contextual knowledge. • Blurring the boundaries between criteria – 3 criteria have to be clearly applied for Level 4 but many answers ran accuracy and comprehensiveness together.