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GCSE 2009 – Unit 3 Managing the Decision-Making process. Geography B – Evolving Planet. Aim of today’s training event. During this presentation, you will: Become familiar with Unit 3, the Decision-Making Exercise (DME) and its component parts

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aim of today s training event
Aim of today’s training event

During this presentation, you will:

  • Become familiar with Unit 3, the Decision-Making Exercise (DME) and its component parts
  • Consider curriculum and assessment issues in relation to Unit 3
  • Identify issues in how to decide when best to enter students for Unit 3
  • Plan a framework for how students can best be prepared for the Unit 3 examination
  • Consider the structure of the examination and its assessment.
what you ll need
What you’ll need
  • During this session, I’ll be referring to the Unit 3 resource booklet in the first Sample Assessment on Antarctica.

You can find a copy

  • either in your specification folder (Page 157 in the Sample Assessment section)
  • or online at and finding Page 157.

What is the DME?

  • An exam based on a pre-release resource booklet about a geographical issue
  • Prepared for over a 3-4 month period before the examination
  • Assessed by a 1-hour tiered examination
  • A common non-tiered resource booklet
  • Assesses geographical understanding and skill in interpreting resources
  • Counts 25% towards the final GCSE qualification
  • Available in June only.

What kinds of topics will feature?

  • Each DME will be on a different geographical topic, at varying scales e.g. Antarctica (continental scale), Grampound (local village), Australia (national) and Scotland (regional).
  • Each resource booklet will focus upon particular issues which require geographical understanding
  • A wide variety of resources – maps, photographs, data, text – covering a range of opinions and options for the future
  • Issues will be contemporary and real – no fictional situations.
sample assessment materials
Sample Assessment Materials
  • First sample already available – a DME on Antarctica
  • Second sample due on-line shortly – a DME on the village of Grampound in Cornwall
  • The second sample (Grampound) will closely reflect the question style and mark distribution found in the ‘live’ papers in June 2010 onwards.
where does unit 3 fit within the course
Where does Unit 3 fit within the course?
  • Free-standing – can be taught independently of Units 1 and 2
  • The title of each topic is released at least two years in advance to help with course planning
  • Requires about 10-15 hours teaching and preparation time, or about 5-8 weeks, based upon 2 hours a week contact time.
  • Release of the resource booklet and timing of the exam means that teaching takes place between February and May before the June examination
when to enter candidates
When to enter candidates?
  • Centres can enter candidates in Year 10 or Year 11
  • Current choices for those starting the course now:
  • 2010 – Can Australia cope with its increasing population?
  • 2011 – The problems and prospects for Scotland's fishing communities
  • Topics are specific to a year; re-takes would be on a different topic
  • Entry decisions are likely to be made on the basis of either curriculum reasons (e.g. links to teaching in Unit 1 or 2), or when it seems appropriate for students.
outlining the process
Outlining the process
  • January – secure download for teachers. Teachers can review the resource booklet, and adapt or develop teaching activities from it.
  • February – resource booklets in schools. Students can see resources from this time. These can be used in lessons but should not be marked or written on, as they must be ‘clean’ for the exam. It is helpful to download copies for students which they can annotate freely in lessons.
  • February – June preparation for the exam.
  • June Examination: provisional date for Unit 3 Summer 2010 is June 24th.
how unit 3 links to the specification
How Unit 3 links to the specification
  • The DME is not rooted in any particular unit or topic
  • It is free-standing – not like DMEs from the previous Edexcel B or OCR which assess a discrete unit from the specification.
  • The exam is not synoptic, except that students need geographical skills to synthesise information.
  • Geographical skills required are important; knowledge about particular topics is not.
  • Think of Unit 3 as integral to Units 1 and 2, using DM skills – not arising out of them, as would be the case in a synoptic paper.
the resource booklet
The Resource Booklet
  • All the material required for the exam will be in the resource booklet –any background information (e.g. in 2010 Australia’s population dynamics) will be in the booklet. No additional sources will be needed.
  • It will not be assumed that students have been taught either Unit 1 or 2 – or any particular options within these.
  • Key terminology will be important. Key words, which are essential to the theme, will be italics in the resource booklet. Students will need to know their meaning.
  • Examiners will be free to use these key words or terms in the exam, including asking for definitions.
links to the specification
Links to the specification

The aim will always be to try to link Units 1 and 2 e.g.

  • Australia 2010 – looks like a population topic (Unit 2) but will also refer to Australian issues such as water or biodiversity (Unit 1).
  • Scotland 2011 – looks like a fishing topic (and therefore Oceans on the Edge or Biodiversity – Unit 1) but is also about communities – which could refer to Changing Urban or Rural Environments, Living Spaces, World of Work etc. (Unit 2).
  • However, some DMEs may be specifically based on Unit 1 or 2 e.g. Grampound in the second sample materials.
the format of the resource booklet
The format of the resource booklet
  • About 24 pages. Approx. 2 pages per hour of teaching.
  • Briefing and Guidance for students will introduce the issue
  • Section A – Introducing the place or the issue
  • Section B – Exploring the issue in detail
  • Section C – Options for the future
  • There will usually be 4 or 5 options in Section C.
  • All options will be valid – there will never be a ‘loss leader’. A case could be made for any of them.
planning lesson activities to prepare for the exam
Planning lesson activities to prepare for the exam

Resource required:

  • Page 157 and onwards for the resource booklet

Discussion and planning activity:

  • what could you do to help prepare students for the examination over 5-8 weeks?
the format of the examination
The format of the examination
  • Has sections A, B and C, like the Resource Booklet
  • The 50 marks will be split fairly evenly – e.g. Grampound 16, 19, 15
  • Incline of difficulty within each section, and between Sections A and C
  • Distribution of marks less fragmented than previous Edexcel GCSE exams – fewer 1 mark questions
  • Questions will be more scaffolded at Foundation Tier compared to Higher Tier.
mark distribution in each tier
Mark distribution in each Tier

In the Grampound DME, marks range as follows:

In Foundation Tier

  • Section A – from 1 to 4 marks
  • Section B – from 2 to 6 marks
  • Section C – from 3 to 6 marks

In Higher Tier

  • Section A – from 2 to 6 marks
  • Section B – from 2 to 6 marks
  • Section C – from 6 to 9 marks

This will be very similar in June 2010 and 2011.

marking and mark schemes
Marking and mark schemes
  • Questions carrying 5 marks or fewer are point-marked; i.e. 1 mark per point made.
  • Those carrying 6 marks or more will be level marked
  • QWC will be assessed in questions of 6 marks or more
  • QWC will be assessed in terms of answer structure, syntax and grammar, use of geographical terminology, and spelling, punctuation and grammar
  • The ‘geography’ within a candidate’s answer will be what decides the level, not the quality of e.g. spelling.
preparing your students for the exam 1
Preparing your students for the exam 1

The Resource Booklet is designed for 10-15 hours teaching.

Two approaches:

  • ‘Drip feed’ (e.g. 1 hour a week) or immersion (e.g. 7 intensive weeks)?
  • Advantages in both approaches, especially if you can make links to the topic through the year in taught parts of the specification
  • e.g. June 2010 Australia DME - Unit 1 could include a study of Water in Australia in Section A, or the Extreme Environments option in Section C, focusing on Australia.
preparing your students for the exam 2
Preparing your students for the exam 2
  • Build relevant resources around DME topics to help teaching and preparation E.g. June 2010 DME on Australia could be supplemented with BBC’s ‘Australia 2000’ series (themes on extreme environments, rural settlements, population, environmental issues, sustainability, urban themes in Sydney)
  • Build mini DMEs into teaching (including past papers) so that students understand the approach
  • Use examples from the textbooks for the specification – building up from smaller, 10-minute activities, to longer more analytical decision-making.
preparing your students for the exam 3
Preparing your students for the exam 3
  • Remember to develop exam skills, such as extended writing, and timing.
  • Practice answers – especially

a) timed answers,

b) decision-making answers for Section C,

where students will have to justify one or more choices.

  • Prepare students for the decision-making by having lessons in which they analyse – e.g.

Benefits and costs, or

Advantages and disadvantages

  • Develop exam technique by developing extended writing skills e.g. using writing frames.
concluding activity
Concluding Activity

Develop a list of

a) analytical techniques

b) exam skills techniques

that you could develop in students to help them prepare for Unit 3.