Understanding Assessment - Paper 1

Introduction

This page provides information on the Paper 1, Geographic Themes, exam structure and the Assessment Objectives are explained. In addition, a student friendly interpretation of the assessment criteria and grade boundaries for Higher Level and Standard Level Paper 1 is provided.

Link to Syllabus

 What does the exam look like?

2 hours 15 minutes

HL 60 Marks SL 40 Marks

HL students answer questions in three options. SL students answer questions in two option

Each option includes several small mark responses ranging from 1- 6 marks, totaling 10 marks and the choice between two 10 mark essay questions

Options Include:

ThemesQuestionsMarks
Option A - Freshwater1-220
Option B - Oceans and coastal margins3-420
Option C - Extreme environments5-620
Option D - Geophysical hazards7-820
Option E - Leisure, tourism and sport9-1020
Option F - Food and health11-1220
Option G - Urban environments13-1420

Answers are written on examination paper and there is an additional resource booklet to accompany the examination

 What is the teacher looking for in my answers?                                                                                                   

There are four Assessment Objectives that examiners and teachers refer to when grading work. These are:

  1. AO1: Knowledge and Understanding of specified content
  2. AO2 Application and analysis of knowledge and understanding
  3. AO3: Synthesis (links) and evaluation
  4. AO4: Selection, use and application of a variety of appropriate skills and techniques

Not all of the AOs are relevant to every question. As the marks increase for a question more of the AOs become relevant. An examiner will look to identify effective use of the AOs in your written work when grading. For example:

Question 1

Outline one possible threat to freshwater wetlands (2 marks).                                                                                       

The answer to this question requires AO1 only - Knowledge and Understanding

Question 2

With reference to the diagram state two negative consequences of desertification (2 marks)                                            

The answer to this question requires AO1 and AO2. The student should understand the term desertification and it and understand its causes, recognizing it on a diagram (AO2) 

Question 3

Evaluate two or more strategies designed to improve the sustainability of cities (10)                                                    

The answer to this question can be structured in essay form (AO4) and requires AO1, AO2 and AO3. The student must be able to define a sustainable city (AO1) and develop understanding of relevant examples to support their answer (AO2). They should then develop the strength and weakness and perhaps compare and justify the relative success of these strategies (AO3)

Question 4

Explain two disadvantages and one advantage of using HALE as an indicator of the health of the populations of the countries shown in the map (2 + 2  + 2)                                                                                                                         

The answer to this question requires AO1, AO2 and AO3. The student should write a structured response in three sections (AO4), demonstrating knowledge and understanding of HALE (AO1), a clear explanation of the disadvantages or advantages (with possible use of of statistics) (AO2). Ideas are evaluative by the command word but must be fully justified (AO3)              

How do I meet the Assessment Objectives in my answers?

The teacher uses markbands when grading your answers. Depending on the type of  question these markbands range from 0 marks to 9-10 marks in Paper 1.

In addition, the teacher is looking for evidence of the Assessment Objectives where relevant

A zero will be awarded when a student's response does not reach a standard described by the level descriptors

Marks 1-2 Grade Descriptions

Marks

AO1: Knowledge and understanding

AO2: Application and analysis of knowledge and understanding

AO3: Synthesis and evaluationAO4: Selection, use and application of a variety of appropriate skills and techniques
1-2
  • The response is too brief and over descriptive
  • The response may list unconnected ideas (some irrelevant)
  • It's too general with errors or gaps
  • Case studies or examples are not included or developed
  • There is no analysis
  • Key vocabulary is missing or not defined.
  • There is no evidence of evaluation or conclusion
  • There is no development of wider links or factors
  • There is no logical structure, e.g paragraphs
  • Maps, diagrams and graphs are not used or not linked to the question or are difficult to read

Marks 3 - 4 Grade Descriptions

Marks

AO1: Knowledge and understanding

AO2: Application and analysis of knowledge and understanding

AO3: Synthesis and evaluationAO4: Selection, use and application of a variety of appropriate skills and techniques
3-4
  • The response is very general
  • The knowledge and understanding shown is not always relevant.
  • The response tends to list ideas
  • The argument or analysis is not relevant to the question
  • Some good terminology and defined but inconsistent with some errors in understanding
  • If appropriate to the question, the conclusion is irrelevant.
  • There is no critical evaluation of evidence,such as statistics and case studies
  • Most information is poorly structured
  • If appropriate to the question, maps, diagrams and graphs lack detail or are not linked to the question or are difficult to read

The response has some relevant knowledge and understanding but it remains too general and is listed and poorly structured with a lack of critical comment

Marks 5-6 Grade Descriptions

Marks

AO1: Knowledge and understanding

AO2: Application and analysis of knowledge and understanding

AO3: Synthesis and evaluationAO4: Selection, use and application of a variety of appropriate skills and techniques
5-6
  • The response describes relevant ideas, statistics, case studies etc.
  • Ideas a clearly linked to the question
  • The argument or analysis partially addresses the question but may be repetitive
  • Some good terminology and defined with only minor errors in understanding
  • If appropriate to the question, the conclusions are general and not aligned correctly to the evidence presented and/or based on an incorrect interpretation of the evidence
  • Other perspectives such as examples, statistics, and case studies or strengths/weakness are simply listed
  • Most information is well structured but some inconsistency
  • If appropriate to the question, maps, diagrams and graphs don't follow conventions and are not always relevant

The response addresses the question but with a narrow argument and limited evaluation and conclusions

Marks 7-8 Grade Descriptions

Marks

AO1: Knowledge and understanding

AO2: Application and analysis of knowledge and understanding

AO3: Synthesis and evaluationAO4: Selection, use and application of a variety of appropriate skills and techniques
7-8
  • The response describes relevant ideas, statistics, case studies and covers all the main points of tge question
  • Ideas a clearly linked to the question
  • The argument or analysis is clear and relevant but may be biased
  • Complex terminology is defined and used correctly but not consistently
  • If appropriate to the question, the conclusions are relevant to the question, aligned with the evidence but biased
  • Other perspectives such as examples, statistics, and case studies or strengths/weakness are described
  • Information is grouped together logically
  • If appropriate to the question, maps, diagrams and graphs are drawn to conventions and contribute to the argument.

 The response addresses the question and the analysis is evaluated and the conclusion is relevant but biased

Marks 9-10 Grade Descriptions

Marks

AO1: Knowledge and understanding

AO2: Application and analysis of knowledge and understanding

AO3: Synthesis and evaluationAO4: Selection, use and application of a variety of appropriate skills and techniques
9-10
  • The response explains relevant ideas, statistics, case studies and covers all the main points of tge question
  • Links to the question are clearly explained
  • The argument or analysis is balanced, presenting evidence that is discussed, explaining complexity, exceptions and comparisons
  • Complex terminology is d used correctly throughout
  • If appropriate to the question, the conclusions are relevant to the question, balanced and aligned with the evidence
  • Evaluation includes a systematic and detailed presentation of ideas, cause and effect relations, other perspectives, strengths/weakness of evidence. Justification of the argument is developed where appropriate
  • Information is grouped together logically with discussion. The conclusion improves the clarity of the argument
  • If appropriate to the question, maps, diagrams and graphs are drawn to conventions and annotated , are wel  explained and contribute to the argument.

The response is in-depth and question specific (topic and command word). The analysis and conclusion is justified through well-developed evaluation and critical examination of different perspectives

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