I felt very uninspired by this year’s set of questions. We are only into the second round of linear exams but I found the questions very ‘samey’ from the previous year. I am not sure that the questions enabled the students to show a depth and breath of knowledge and understanding or gave them the opportunity to really shine and show off the tireless amount of work and revision they all do.
So I turned to the examiner’s report to grasp an understanding of what is expected from our students. I unfortunately found them to be quite brief, not always that insightful and quite repetitive in parts (which is fine as it just means students are making the same mistakes across the board.) I like how they have provided samples of answers this year to back up the points made but this seemed to replace a lot of the depth found in previous reports.
So here are the main highs and lows of this year’s exams.
General (fairly predictable):
- Evaluation throughout
- Focus directly on question not general topic
- Outlined line of argument at the beginning (often in introduction) and followed this throughout answer (AO2 driven). Those that added evaluation near end of each paragraph often did not score into higher brackets.
- Relevant material used
- Write everything I know on that topic (pre prepared formulaic answers)
- Evaluate through juxtaposition of different views. In other words putting one name against another name and thinking this is evaluation. You need to say which view is stronger/ more convincing ect.
- Lack of planning leading to long rambling answers- paragraphs are your friend!
- Lack of awareness of Q’s/ language used on Spec.
1. How successfully does the language game concept make sense of religious language?
- Varied examples
- Critical dialogue with Wittgenstein
- Contrasted views e.g. Ayer, Flew and Hare’s bliks
- Effective evaluation including whether language allowed for inter-faith dialogue (seems like a very clever synoptic link to me!), was prone to fideism (belief that faith is independent of reason or that reason and faith are hostile to each other and faith is superior at arriving at particular truths) and whether or not you can escape language games.