Gun Crime - Exploration marks

Gun crime, Gun ownership and the Brandt Line

Mark 13/20

This project provides a useful example of the below key differences in the current exploration marking criteria compared to the Studies Project. 

B - Mathematical communication

(i) predictions using a greater degree of accuracy than the measures provided/data provided.

(ii) poorly labelled graphs (their axes in particular) and diagrams are mentioned for the exploration under criterion B across a number of SL subject reports, whereas these are not cited in the Project subject reports (the definition of variables, the correct use of notation and the accurate and precise use of terminology are cited in both Project criterion G and the Exploration criterion B)

D - Reflection

Neither ‘critical’ reflection nor ‘substantial evidence’ really form part of the Project’s criterion D descriptors. It is therefore to be expected that current Projects, written with the Project criterion in mind, will not reach achievement level 3 using the exploration criteria (but will be able to, once this is included in the student's preparation for the internal assessment).

E – Use of mathematics : the syllabus has changed

There is no attempt to plot the data for Guns legally owned per 100 000 (hypothesised 'causal' factor) against Gun deaths per 100 000 and check for linearity or non-linearity. It is more likely that students, given the “modelling” emphasis of the new subject, will be expected, using technology, to work out more appropriate, non-linear models.

View the full project (studies marks): Gun Crime 

View the Exploration marks (PDF format):  Gun Crime

The marks explained






Presentation (4)


The exploration is well-organised and coherent with clear links between each section making making it easy to follow. The aim is a little confused in the introduction, but clarified by the work that follows and could have been more concise.


Mathematical Communication (4)


The mathematical communication is relevant, appropriate and there is just enough evidence to consider it: “mostly” consistent. Insufficient consideration of the appropriate degrees of accuracy for the calculations presented e.g. p.5 averages, and the inclusion of a y-axes and unclear key on the box and whisker diagrams prevent the award of attainment level 4.


Personal Engagement (3)


The student has sourced appropriate data targeted on the aims of the exploration and has looked at the topic from different perspectives, making and testing predictions throughout their exploration. The format followed by the students is however, a fairly standard one, lacking the creativity, independence or depth one might expect to see as evidence for an ‘outstanding’ personal engagement i.e. that ‘drives the exploration forward in a creative way’ (additional notes, criterion C). More personal research around the causes/contributing factors of gun crime (no references included outside of those linking to the data itself) could, perhaps, have helped the student make more progress in this regard.





There is clear evidence of ‘meaningful’ reflection and occasional, but limited evidence, of ‘critical’ reflection. ‘Meaningful’ reflection is the better fit descriptor.


Use of Mathematics



Box and whisker diagrams and Pearson’s correlation coefficient are commensurate with the level of the course. However, the section on boxplots etc. does not suggest a “thorough” understanding of quartiles, outliers and range as measures of spread/deviation. Pearson’s correlation coefficient is a valid method only for linear relationships. There is no consideration of this important point by the student, nor an attempt to plot the data and check for linearity or non-linearity: ‘some’ rather than ‘good’ knowledge and understanding.


Use of Mathematics



The mathematics used is both relevant and correct, but not commensurate with the level of the course.

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