GCSE EXAMINERS' REPORTS. RELIGIOUS STUDIES (Specification B)

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1 GCSE EXAMINERS' REPORTS RELIGIOUS STUDIES (Specification B) SUMMER 2013

2 Grade Boundaries Grade boundary information for this subject is available on the WJEC public website at: https://www.wjecservices.co.uk/marktoums/default.aspx?l=en Online results analysis WJEC provides information to examination centres via the WJEC secure website. This is restricted to centre staff only. Access is granted to centre staff by the Examinations Officer at the centre. Annual Statistical Report The annual Statistical Report (issued in the second half of the Autumn Term) gives overall outcomes of all examinations administered by WJEC. This will be available at:

3 RELIGIOUS STUDIES (Specification B) General Certificate of Secondary Education Summer 2013 Chief Examiner: Chris Owens Joy White UNIT 1: RELIGION AND LIFE ISSUES General Comments As in previous years the paper proved accessible with a full range of marks used for all questions on the paper. The stimulus appeared to be successful in helping the range of candidates entered for this examination to access the questions. The usual range of excellent answers demonstrated detailed, thoughtful and well expressed responses. Many candidates demonstrated an excellent knowledge of religious traditions and an excellent understanding of how religious belief impact on the lives of religious believers. As in previous years answers on the paper spanned the six religious traditions in the specification. In questions 2 and 4 many candidates gave answers about religious teaching which included practices. In question 3 the majority of candidates responded correctly to the question demand of one religious tradition. There was evidence that candidates had been thoroughly prepared for the SPaG element of the assessment in question 1. The responses in 1 tended to be more carefully written, expressed and checked than other questions on the paper and with a greater degree of accuracy in the use of key terms. Q.1 (a) Well answered by many candidates, although a significant number of candidates were not completely aware of the difference in meaning of celibacy and chastity. Many candidates gave a weak definition and added an example to achieve full marks. Using sacred text and seeking advice from a religious leader were very popular answers to this question. Many candidates expressed the view that marriage was for life and referenced their answers to the Christian traditions. The majority of answers related to the Christian traditions with a variety of reasons offered and correctly giving two different viewpoints. Where the question was answered well the candidates were able to draw on the special nature of marriage and sex as a gift from God. The key word was ceremony and many included features of a marriage that occurred before and after the actual ceremony. Candidates must read the question carefully and always answer the question. The explaining of the main features of a marriage ceremony was not done well as many candidates simply described what happened rather than explained there was good use of key terms but a lack of explanation of the meaning of the features or why they occurred. Some candidates disadvantaged themselves by only giving an answer based on a single religious tradition. This was a question well answered by the majority of candidates. Answers were peppered with accurate quotes from sacred text and many introduced an historical perspective. Candidates interpreted the question in two ways; either the wedding ceremony or the institution of marriage and both interpretations received credit. 1

4 Q.2 (a) A well answered question. Candidates gave clear and accurate definitions with examples often taken from the source material. A very wide interpretation was taken of the phrase socially responsible with many candidates referring to caring for the planet as well as people. Some answers lacked specific examples or failed to make a direct and clear link between religious beliefs and practices Candidates tended to focus on traditional ideas of the problem of greed and money being the root of all evil. Some candidates used examples from sacred text to support their viewpoints. Also very popular was the practice of giving to charity with examples quoted. Some candidates introduced the idea of a work ethic where traditions encouraged people to work hard for their money and how it was acceptable for believers to accumulate wealth in this way. Also reference to how accumulated wealth could be used for the good of others. Responses to the question on teaching about equality varied with many talking about the practice of equality rather than the teachings which was the focus of the question. Many struggled with this question and just gave a vast array of quotes and examples. Many answers to this question contained examples from history of individuals who had fought discrimination. Most were relevant, some were not. There was an encouraging link to justice and more able candidates introduced views on positive discrimination. Less able candidates missed the purpose of the discrimination evaluation question, choosing to focus on what discrimination is rather than what how religion may help prevent discrimination. Q.3 (a) This question was well answered with many candidates giving a sound definition and relating it to examples of soul and heaven. Generally a very well answered question although some candidates presented lists with very little explanation. To access the higher level of marks it is important that candidates give an explanation within their answers, rather than just giving a list of activities. The symbols of God question was a challenge for many candidates as they missed the idea of describing God, instead choosing to focus on symbolism generally and how it is used by religious believers. It proved to be a difficult question for all but the most able candidates. Answers to this question were from a range of religious traditions. Answers to the question on the teachings about God varied. There were some outstanding answers that included very good use of key word knowledge and complex ideas. Some candidates missed the point of the question offering ideas of teachings given by God thereby scoring lower level marks. Answers to this question were from a range of religious traditions. Some very good answers that showed a sound knowledge of the key issues with a generous helping of current affairs to reinforce points made at local, national and international level. Many candidates showed a good understanding of the claim that society has become more secular. Candidates were able to give a wide range of examples to support different viewpoints. 2

5 Q.4 (a) Candidates gave many different but correct definitions of creation from the seven days of creation to the more general explanation of making things with an example. Weak answers often consisted of a very short phrase; it is important that candidates are aware that an (a) question does require a detailed definition to achieve the higher level mark. Many candidates knew the meaning of natural resources and gave a wide range examples of how a religious believer should use them. A minority of candidates ignored the how element of the question and approached the question incorrectly from a why perspective. More able candidates gave articulate accounts of how science challenged religious views of creation and how religion could respond to these views. A number of answers considered the viewpoints of literalist and non-literalist Christians. Many candidates offered generic answers to the question on attitudes to animals mentioning how animals are used but not always explaining the religious ideas behind them. Lots of answers referred to practices, particularly in Judaism and Islam. This question had many excellent answers that introduced emotional, intellectual and spiritual dimensions. The best answers may explicit reference to religious beliefs. On occasion candidates disadvantaged themselves by not including reference to religious beliefs in their answers. 3

6 RELIGIOUS STUDIES (Specification B) General Certificate of Secondary Education Summer 2013 UNIT 2: RELIGION AND HUMAN EXPERIENCE General Comments The paper proved to be accessible with the full range of marks for all questions awarded. There were some excellent responses with candidates fully understanding what was required by the trigger words and applying their knowledge to create detailed and analytical responses. In some questions however, such as 1d, many candidates failed to recognise they were being asked how and instead wrote descriptions. Some candidates did not recognise terms used in the specification such as sacred texts and the key concepts and consequently were unable to answer the corresponding questions. Evaluations showed an ability to give detailed justifications and there was an increasing ability to refer to appropriate evidence from religious traditions. There were still many answers to d questions that showed a simplistic and stereotypical understanding of the beliefs and practices of religious traditions. The majority of candidates were aware of the SPaG element of the assessment in question 1 and consequently were more careful regarding their spelling and punctuation. However, it was also noticeable that candidates used more simplistic language with words easier to spell than in the corresponding e questions. Q.1 (a) Well answered with relevant examples often being given as part of the explanation. Some excellent answers with the application of relevant content from the specification.some candidates failed to address the issue of the influence of religion and instead focussed on suffering in religious traditions. Well answered with many candidates able to give a justified view. Some candidates failed to explain how and instead wrote very detailed biographical descriptions. This proved to be a very accessible question and many candidates were able to apply their understanding of the specification. For full marks candidates needed to discuss whether forgiveness is impossible. There were fewer examples of religious literacy used in this question compared to other e questions. Q.2 (a) Usually well answered although some explanations needed further expansion to gain full marks. The majority of candidates were able to identify appropriate influences although some answers were very generic with no specific textual or religious teachings referred to. 4

7 A very accessible question which allowed many candidates to refer to the belief in the sanctity of life.the answers to c questions do not have to refer to a specific religious tradition nor do opposing answers have to be written. There were some disappointing responses with very generic or stereotypical.answers.this was particularly the case for those referring to the Catholic tradition.many answers from Judaism implied the belief and practices were exactly the same as those of the Anglican faith tradition. Although there were some excellent answers to this question many candidates chose to focus only on issues relating to abortion and euthanasia rather than refer to wider religious practices and moral and ethical situations. Q.3 (a) Well handled by many candidates whose explanations were supported with appropriate examples. This was well answered by candidates with specific references to actions of particular faith traditions. There were some creative answers to this question which showed that candidates were aware of the media for mission, evangelism, and education. Some candidates made reference to some faith traditions who do not approve of television. The question asked about attitudes to pilgrimage-as detailed in the specification. Some candidates correctly identified and described two places of pilgrimage but failed to explain the attitudes of religious traditions. Answers gaining high levels were able to answer if they thought faith is best expressed through what people wear rather than describing religious symbols.there were some excellent answers which referred to the importance of faith through actions. Q.4 (a) Many pupils found it difficult to explain what justice meant with clarity.some times only examples were given. Some disappointing responses with some candidates not aware of what was meant by human rights despite it being part of the specification. Again some pupils failed to fully understand what was meant by the term sacred texts. There were however some excellent answers relating to texts as revelations. This answer required reference to only one religious tradition but many candidates wrote very generic moral answers which they contextualised into a faith tradition.some candidates only referred to capital punishment. There were some excellent answers in which candidates exhibited an engagement with the whole course and responded with appropriate references to the specification content. GCSE Religious Studies Specification B Examiners Report (Summer 2013) /HL 5

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