GCSE

GCSE

GCSE Media Studies

Exam Board: AQA Year 11 2017 

We are a high achieving department where students will create portfolios of work for the GCSE qualification; worth 60% of the overall grade. They will explore three main areas of the media in detail and combine analytical skills with creative skills to research, evaluate and plan different media assignments.

Students will also sit one exam at the end of the course which is on a set topic with changes to this each year. The exam in 2018 is Serial Drama and students will have to respond to a pre-released pack and the exam requires both essay style and practical responses to four questions. This is the remaining 40% of the qualification and is something we are working on as the students complete their coursework.

AQA exam papers and resources can be viewed from http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/media-studies/gcse/media-studies-4810/past-papers-and-mark-schemes where students can look at past papers.

 

Our GCSEs:

  • Enable students to realise their full potential
  • Contain engaging content
  • Are manageable for schools and colleges
  • Are accessible to students of all levels of ability
  • Lead to accurate results, delivered on time
  • Are affordable and value for money.

AQA provides a comprehensive range of support

  • Services for teachers:
  • Access to subject departments
  • Training for teachers including practical teaching
  • Strategies and approaches that really work
  • Presented by senior examiners
  • Personalised support for Controlled Assessment
  • 24 hour support through our website and online
  • Past question papers and mark schemes
  • Comprehensive printed and electronic resources for teachers and students.

 

GCSE: NEW SPECIFICATION

Exam Board: AQA Year 10 2017-19

The current year 10 are sitting a new specification for Media Studies this year. This is a linear course which means that students will sit all their exams and submit all their non-exam assessment at the end of the course.

GCSE Media Studies is the study of advertising, film, television, news, radio and the ever growing platform of social media and its role in daily life. You will develop your critical understanding of the media and how it communicates messages across a range of platforms whilst developing your creative and practical skills.

The course covers the main four concepts for media:

1.  Media language

Forms of media language

Content

What our students will learn over the two years:

Fundamental principles of semiotic analysis, including connotation and denotation.

Other terms and techniques may include:

  •  code
  •  anchorage
  •  sign
  •  icon
  •  symbol.

The various forms of media language used to create and communicate meanings in media products.

Linear models of communication:

  •  sender
  •  message
  •  receiver.

Choice of media language

Content

What our students will learn over the two years:

How choice (selection, combination and exclusion) of elements of media language influences meaning in media products to create narratives, to portray aspects of reality, to construct points of view, and to represent the world in ways that convey messages and values.

The ‘rules' of media language: how signs are selected, deselected and assembled to conform to codes and make meanings.

The constructed nature of reality.

 

 

Theories of narrative

Content

What our students will learn over the two years:

Theories of narrative, including those derived from Propp (character types).

Narrative development:

  •  exposition
  •  disruption
  •  complication
  •  climax
  •  resolution.

Audience appeal of narrative:

  •  enigma
  •  closure.

 Technology and media products

Content

What our students will learn over the two years:

The relationship between technology and media products.

How developments in technology impact on content:

  •  forces that drive technological change
  •  the impact of new technology on the form, content and meaning of media products:
  •  image manipulation
  •  high definition
  • computer-generated imagery (CGI)
  •  mobile communication technology
  • · user-generated content.

  Codes and conventions

Content

What our students will learn over the two years:

The codes and conventions of media language, how they develop and become established as ‘styles' or genres (which are common across different media products) and how they may also vary over time.

Varieties of code:

  •  Technical.
  •  Verbal and non-verbal.
  •  Symbolic.
  •  Design, layout, typography.

Theoretical perspectives on genre:

  •  principles of repetition and variation
  •  the dynamic nature of genre
  •  hybridity
  •  intertextuality.

Intertextuality, including how inter-relationships between different media products can influence meaning.

The evolution and development of genres (including hybrid genres) in different media forms.

Factors influencing the creation of genre products:

  •  financial
  •  cultural
  •  audience demand.

 

2.  Media representations

.

 Re-presentation

Content

What our students will learn over the two years:

The ways in which the media re-present (rather than simply present) the world, and construct versions of reality.

Theoretical perspectives on representation, including processes of selection, construction and mediation.

The processes of:

  •  selection
  •  construction
  •  mediation.

Realism: reasons why some representations seem more truthful or realistic than others.

Critical exploration of views including:

  •  the media is a window on the world
  •  the media is the message.

Theoretical perspectives on gender

Content

What our students will learn over the two years:

Theoretical perspectives on gender and representation and feminist approaches.

An exploration of the distinction between essentialist views (that males and females are different categories with essential features, behaviours and attributes that define them) and social constructionalist views that the same features, behaviours and attributes are constructed by society (including the media) and not by nature.

Choice of media producers

Content

What our students will learn over the two years:

The choices media producers make about how to represent particular events, social groups and ideas.

Audience positioning.

Selective representation, biased and prejudicial representation.

Representation of reality

Content

What our students will learn over the two years:

The ways aspects of reality may be represented differently depending on the purposes of the producers.

Techniques of persuasive communication.

Advertising, marketing, political bias, propaganda.

Stereotypes

Content

What our students will learn over the two years:

The different functions and uses of stereotypes:

  •  How stereotypes become established.
  •  How stereotypes may vary over time.
  •  Positive and negative stereotypes.
  •  How stereotypes enable audiences to interpret media quickly.

A range of different stereotypes will be discussed and exemplified in order that students understand the problems with and usefulness of stereotypes.

Misrepresentation

Content

What our students will learn over the two years:

How and why particular social groups may be under represented or misrepresented.

Bias and partiality in representation.

Relationship between media representations and the dominant value system of society.

 Viewpoints

Content

What our students will learn over the two years:

How representations (including self-representations) convey particular viewpoints, messages, values and beliefs, which may be reinforced across a wide range of media products.

Role of individuals as producers (as well as consumers) of media messages in which the self is represented.

Contrast between dominant representations and contested representations of, for example, groups, issues and places.

Social, cultural and political significance

Content

What our students will learn over the two years:

The social, cultural and political significance of particular representations in terms of the themes or issues that they address.

Agenda setting.

News values.

Reflection of contexts

Content

What our students will learn over the two years:

How representations reflect the social, historical and cultural contexts in which they were produced.

Relationship between representation and changing values and beliefs and culture specific values and beliefs.

 

 

Audience interpretation

Content

What our students will learn over the two years:

The factors affecting audience interpretations of representations including their own experiences and beliefs.

Audience positioning

Decoding - the influence of social variables such as age, class, gender, ethnicity on the interpretation of media representations.

 

 

3.  Media industries

The nature of media production

Content

What our students will learn over the two years:

The nature of media production, including by large organisations, who own the products they produce, and by individuals and groups.

Patterns of ownership:

  •  mergers
  •  demergers
  •  takeovers
  •  concentration.

 Production processes

Content

What our students will learn over the two years:

The impact of production processes, personnel and technologies on the final product.

Similarities and differences between media products in terms of when and where they are produced.

Working practices in media industries.

 

 

 

 Ownership

Content

What our students will learn over the two years:

The effect of ownership and control of media organisations:

  •  conglomerate ownership
  •  diversification
  •  vertical integration
  •  horizontal integration.

 

Convergence

Content

What our students will learn over the two years:

The impact of the increasingly convergent nature of media industries across different platforms and different national settings.

Cross media ownership.

Convergence of content providers, network providers and platform providers.

 Funding models

Content

What our students will learn over the two years:

The importance of different funding models. Government funded, not-for-profit and commercial models.

Role of:

  •  television licence
  •  advertising, sponsorship, product placement, direct sales
  •  independent and voluntary sector.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Commercial industries

Content

What our students will learn over the two years:

How the media operate as commercial industries on a global scale and reach both large and specialised audiences.

Globalisation.

Cultural imperialism.

International agreements (and disagreements) on regulation and freedom to trade media products.

Regulation

Content

What our students will learn over the two years:

The functions and types of regulation of the media.

Self regulation and government regulation.

Disputes about freedom, censorship and control.

Nature of regulatory bodies in UK:

  •  the Office of Communications (OFCOM)
  •  the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO)
  •  the Video Standards Council (VSC)
  •  the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC)
  •  the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)
  •  Pan European Game Information (PEGI).

Digital technologies

Content

What our students will learn over the two years:

The challenges for media regulation presented by 'new' digital technologies.

Debates about:

  •  online, social networking abuse and bullying
  • online anonymity
  •  rights and responsibilities of ISPs and social networks
  • public interest versus rights of the individual.

 

4. Media audiences

Theoretical perspectives on audiences

Content

What our students will learn over the two years:

Theoretical perspectives on audiences including:

  •  active and passive audiences
  •  audience response
  • audience interpretation.

Blumler and Katz's Uses and Gratifications theory.

The role of audiences in the creation of meaning and the degree of effect of media messages upon audiences.

Range of audiences

Content

What our students will learn over the two years:

How and why media products are aimed at a range of audiences, from small, specialised audiences to large mass audiences.

Requirement for commercial media producers to create audiences which can be sold to advertisers.

 Targeting

Content

What our students will learn over the two years:

The ways in which media organisations target audiences through marketing.

Understanding of the assumptions organisations make about their target audience(s).

Role of genre conventions in the targeting of audiences.

Techniques used in the marketing of media products:

  •  guerilla and viral marketing
  • trailers, tasters and teasers.

 

Categorisation

Content

What our students will learn over the two years:

How media organisations categorise audiences.

Segmentation and variables:

  •  geographic
  • demographic
  • psychographic.

Media technologies

Content

What our students will learn over the two years:

The role of media technologies in reaching and identifying audiences, and in audience consumption and usage.

Use of online resources to collect audience data.

Audience research institutions including the Broadcasters Audience Research Board (BARB), Radio Joint Audience Research Limited (RAJAR), Pamco, Nielsen.

Research techniques:

  •  quantitative/qualitative
  • primary/secondary.

Interpretations

Content

What our students will learn over the two years:

The ways in which audiences may interpret the same media products very differently and how these differences may reflect both social and individual differences.

  •  Reception theories.
  •  Active audiences.
  • Preferred and aberrant readings.

Active audiences.

Influence of social variables on audience perception.

How audiences may respond to and interpret media products.

Why these responses and interpretations may change over time.

 

Media practices

Content

What our students will learn over the two years:

The ways in which people's media practices are connected to their identity, including their sense of actual and desired self.

Identity and audience membership.

Fans and fandom.

Talking about the media.

Social, cultural and political significance

Content

What our students will learn over the two years:

The social, cultural and political significance of media products:

  •  the themes or issues they address
  •  the fulfilment of needs and desires
  •  the functions they serve in society and everyday life.

 

Audience responses

Content

What our students will learn over the two years:

How audiences may respond to and interpret media products and why these responses and interpretations may change over time.

How changing cultural values with reference to, for example, gender roles, ethnic identities have influenced contemporary perceptions of historical products.

 

CLOSE STUDY PRODUCTS

In addition to the broad coverage of all nine media forms, students must engage in the in depth study of at least one audio-visual, one print and one online, social and participatory media form. Each in depth study will link the specified media form to all four areas of the theoretical framework.

AQA will publish a list of products that students must study on the secure area of the AQA website on 1 June preceding the start of the course. These are the Close Study Products (CSPs). The CSPs will be reviewed annually. The newspapers will be updated every year in order to ensure that the stories students are covering do not become too outdated. Other products will be refreshed periodically.

You must ensure that you download a new CSP booklet every year in June in order to ensure that your students are studying the correct products as questions in the exams will relate to these products.

AQA will provide information about how to access the CSPs in the CSP booklet that can be downloaded from the secure area of the AQA website.

The CSPs will address the requirement that students engage with products which:

  • possess cultural, social and historical significance in terms of critical acclaim and/or audience popularity
  • reflect and illuminate the theoretical framework for the study of media
  • demonstrate contrasts in terms of perceived quality, form and structure
  • provide rich and challenging opportunities for interpretation and analysis, enabling students to develop a detailed understanding of how the media communicate meanings
  • are from different historical periods
  • are intended for different audiences
  • demonstrate emerging, future developments of the media
  • are not necessarily the type of products which students would normally engage.

The focus of study is not the products themselves but, rather, the theoretical framework and contexts of media. Exam questions will focus on the theoretical framework and contexts of the media but students will be expected to answer with reference to or analysis of relevant CSPs. These products should be seen as a vehicle for the delivery of the specification, rather than products to be 'learned' in detail.

It is essential that students study all of the CSPs but it is advised that they are supplemented by further examples of age appropriate media products in order to develop a full knowledge and understanding of the contexts of the media and the theoretical framework.

 
Assessment Overview

Media One

What's assessed

Section A will focus on Media Language and Media Representations. Questions in this section can test any two of the following forms:

  • magazines
  • advertising and marketing
  •  newspapers
  •  online, social and participatory media and video games.

Section B will focus on Media Industries and Media Audiences. Questions in this section can test any two of the following forms:

  •  radio
  •  music video
  •  newspapers
  •  online, social and participatory media and video games
  •  film (industries only).

How it's assessed

  • Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • 84 marks
  •  35% of GCSE

Questions

  •  A range of questions relating to an unseen source and Close Study Products.
  •  An extended response question (20 marks).

 

Media Two

What's assessed

Section A will be based on a screening from an extract of one of the television Close Study Products and can test any area of the theoretical framework.

Section B will be based on either newspapers or online, social and participatory media and video games and can test any area of the framework.

How it's assessed

  • Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • 84 marks
  • 35% of GCSE

Questions

  • Short, medium and extended response questions assessing depth of knowledge and understanding of the course.

 

Non-exam assessment: creating a media product

What's assessed

  • Application of knowledge and understanding of the theoretical framework.
  •  Ability to create media products.

How it's assessed

  •  A choice of one of five annually changing briefs, set by AQA.
  •  60 marks
  • 30% of GCSE
  •  Assessed by teachers
  • Moderated by AQA.

Tasks

Students produce:  

  •  a statement of intent
  •  a media product for an intended audience.