Written Examination

The written examination will examine the following

  • knowledge and understanding
  • analysis  and  interpretation  of  qualitative  and/or  quantitative  social  and political data
  • capacity to form reasonable and logical argument—clarity and coherence in argument and management of ideas.

The percentage of total marks allocated to this component is 80%. The written examination will be two and a half hours long and will have three sections, according to questions type.

Question type

Options

Response format

Weighting Ordinary level

Weighting Higher level

1. Short answer questions

Set number of questions

Completed on paper

20%

10%

2. Short answer and extended response questions on data-based case study

Set of unseen

questions

Constructed

response

30%

30%

3. Discursive essays

Number of

topics given

Essay

30%

40%

Section 1 (Short answer questions) allows for the knowledge of the candidate to be assessed in relation to power and decision-making, active citizenship, human rights and responsibilities and globalisation and localisation.

Section 2 (Short answer and extended response questions on a data-based case study) allows the candidate to be assessed in relation to their skills of thinking critically and independently; of analysing and interpreting qualitative and quantitative social and political research data; and of using such data carefully in coming to conclusions. Those being assessed at Higher level will also be assessed on their capacity to come to conclusions by drawing on their wider knowledge from the study of Politics and Society of power and decision-making, active citizenship, human rights and responsibilities and globalisation and localisation.

Section 3 (Discursive essays) allows for the knowledge of the candidate to be assessed in relation to power and decision-making, active citizenship, human rights and responsibilities and globalisation and localisation as well as their skills in critical, discursive and independent thinking and in using qualitative and quantitative data carefully in coming to conclusions.

General assessment criteria for the written examination

A high level of achievement in the written examination is characterised by a thorough knowledge and understanding of Politics and Society facts, concepts and methods from the whole specification and with few significant omissions. Candidates consistently apply their knowledge and understanding of Politics and Society to both familiar and new contexts. They accurately analyse and evaluate qualitative and quantitative data from different sources where appropriate; manipulation of data, where appropriate, will be almost flawless. Candidates present logical arguments and ideas which are clearly based on evidence.

A moderate level of achievement in the written examination is characterised by a good knowledge of Politics and Society facts, concepts and methods from many parts of the specification. Candidates apply their knowledge and understanding of Politics and Society to familiar contexts and in some new contexts. They carry out adequate levels of analysis and evaluation on qualitative and quantitative data from different sources where appropriate; much of their manipulation of data will be correct. Candidates present arguments and ideas which, in the main, are based on evidence.

A low level of achievement in the written examination is characterised by a limited knowledge and understanding of politics and society facts, concepts and methods. Candidates select appropriate facts, concepts and methods to apply to familiar contexts. They carry out basic manipulation of data correctly. Candidates present explanations which are referenced to some evidence, often from familiar contexts.

Differentiation at the point of assessment

In common with other specdifications, Politics and Society is assessed at Higher and at Ordinary level. Those sections of the specification  to be studied at Higher level only appear in bold type.Questions will also be differentiated in terms of the level of analysis, evaluation and application required.

In teh case of the report on a citizenship project, differentiation will be effected at the point of assessment through the application of separate Higher and Ordinary level marking schemes. The scheme to be used will be determined by the level at which the candidate takes the written examination. 

In the case of the written examinations, separate Higher and Ordinary level papers will be provided.