My latest blog addresses some key questions about the non-examination assessment (NEA) for GCSE and A Level Media Studies.
The assessment objective for the NEA component for both GCSE and A Level Media Studies is about the creation of media products ‘for an intended audience, by applying knowledge and understanding of the theoretical framework of media to communicate meaning’.
What this means is that the focus of assessment is on how student production work demonstrates understanding of the concepts that make up the theoretical framework such as media language and representation.
The statement of intent is a useful starting point for assessment. It should be used by students to identify the key techniques they intend to use, and is an opportunity for them to demonstrate how they are applying their knowledge and understanding of the theoretical framework in their production work.
There are no marks for the statement of intent but there is a penalty if students do not submit one.
Identifying how fully students have met the requirements of the chosen brief may be the next step in assessing the NEA. At GCSE there are minimum requirements for each brief in terms of original content and limits on the amount of found content that can be used. Where students haven’t met these requirements they are limited to level 3.
The NEA briefs for both GCSE and A Level Media Studies feature a column detailing the production content that must be included in student work. The extent to which students have fulfilled these requirements will affect the mark bands they can access.
The assessment criteria for GCSE Media Studies focuses on media language (including codes and conventions), representation, audience address and realisation of the brief. At A Level in addition to those four areas students are also assessed in relation to their understanding of the media industry context. When assessing students’ NEA work the following questions may be helpful.
1) How successfully has media language been used?
This may include how students have used genre conventions, intertextuality or narrative and how they have used the specific media language of the chosen media form. Whilst technical skills are no longer directly assessed, students’ application of understanding of media language will depend on their ability to make effective use of the technical codes of the media form.
2) How have students addressed and appealed to the target audience?
The content and mode of address used by students to address the target audience specified in the brief is another key factor in assessing the NEA. It is important to consider how suited to this target audience the product is, and how production work targets the required audience.
3) How effectively have students constructed representations?
There are a range of ways in which students can demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of representation. This may include how they have constructed representations within their production through the process of selecting and combining different elements, use of stereotypes or anti-stereotypes, or by addressing issues such as misrepresentation or under-representation. Students should aim to demonstrate their understanding of representation as a process and relevant representation issues.
4) How fully have the requirements of the brief and production detail been met?
In order to access the top band of the mark scheme at both GCSE and A Level students need to have included all of the requirements of the brief and production detail.
5) How has understanding of media industries been demonstrated (A Level only)?
At A Level students are also assessed on how their production work demonstrates knowledge and understanding of media industries in relation to the industry context given in the brief.
For A Level Media Studies there are an additional ten marks for knowledge and understanding of the digitally convergent nature of contemporary media. This is rewarding students for the ways in which they have linked together their two products.
There should be a clear sense of branding across both products in order to get into the upper mark bands. In addition the two products should be directing the audience from one product to another, and show understanding of how audiences interact with media products on digital platforms.
For further guidance on the A Level Media NEA component, download our resources on the application of the assessment criteria in relation to magazine and video and online production work from the qualification webpage. You can also still read my blog giving seven tips for successfully tackling the A Level Media NEA.
If you have any questions about NEA assessment in GCSE or A Level Media Studies, please do share your comment below or get in touch via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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John Hibbert – Media and Film Studies Subject Advisor
John Hibbert has worked at OCR since April 2018 as Subject Advisor for Media and Film Studies. Before joining OCR John taught a range of Media and Film Studies qualifications in secondary schools, and was a head of department for the last eight years. Predictably, in his spare time he is a keen filmgoer, and in addition enjoys reading and miserable indie music.