Geography Added Value Unit: The Assignment



Geography Added Value Unit: The Assignment Advice and Guidance for Practitioners


This advice and guidance has been produced to support the profession with the delivery of courses which are either new or which have aspects of significant change within the new national qualifications (NQ) framework. The advice and guidance provides suggestions on approaches to learning and teaching. Practitioners are encouraged to draw on the materials for their own part of their continuing professional development in introducing new national qualifications in ways that match the needs of learners. Practitioners should also refer to the course and unit specifications and support notes which have been issued by the Scottish Qualifications Authority.


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Section 1: Introduction to the Advice and Guidance Section 2: Curriculum for Excellence National Qualifications Section 3: Added Value Section 4: What learners need to do in the Added Value Unit at National 4 Section 5: How learning can be presented for assessment Section 6: Making use of ICT for recording and presenting learning Section 7: Considerations for planning Section 8: Exemplification of potential approaches to learning and teaching for the Added Value Unit in National 4 Geography 16 9 10 13 15 4 5 7 © Crown copyright 2012 ADDED VALUE UNIT (NATIONAL 4, GEOGRAPHY) 3


Section 1: Introduction to the Advice and Guidance

This advice and guidance offers information on national qualifications and in particular the added value element of courses in Social Studies. The focus here is to provide advice for practitioners to consider and reflect on in planning for learning and teaching as appropriate to the context of their learners. The information contained in sections 1–7 is identical in the advice and guidance documents for National 4 Added Value in Geography, History and Modern Studies. Section 8 contains subject specific exemplification of potential approaches to learning and teaching. Practitioners should note that these examples represent possible approaches to consider in reflection and professional dialogue. They do not represent assessment standards or prescribed approaches. Reference should be made to the appropriate SQA documentation regarding assessment requirements and standards. The exemplification provided in section 8 of these documents varies in style, content and level. This allows practitioners to reflect on what may be most appropriate within their own context and to consider ways of helping learners progress in their learning through National 4 and beyond. Practitioners are encouraged to engage with the exemplification provided for Geography, History and Modern Studies in order to reflect on the variety of approaches they may wish to develop in their own se ttings. 4 ADDED VALUE UNIT (NATIONAL 4, GEOGRAPHY) © Crown copyright 2012


Section 2: Curriculum for Excellence National Qualifications

Curriculum for Excellence aims to achieve transformational change, allowing flexibility for learners and the development of the four capacities. Throughout the broad general educat ion, learners develop skills and knowledge through programmes of learning and teaching planned using the Experiences and Outcomes, informed by the Principles and Practices. To ensure a smooth progression into and through the senior phase, practitioners should reflect upon the principles of curriculum design and ensure that learning experiences reflect these. The National Qualifications have been designed to provide learners with opportunities to continue to develop the attributes and capabilities of the fou r capacities as well as skills for learning, skills for life and skills for work. They offer flexibility, provide time for learning and focus on the development of skills and application of learning. They allow for progression from learning that has happen ed through the broad general education and allow opportunities for learners to develop breadth, challenge and application. National 4 qualifications are benchmarked against level four of the SCQF framework and are internally assessed. For more information on the course, unit and assessment specifications, practitioners should refer to the appropriate SQA documentation. Progression from National 4 may lead to study at National 5 and/or Higher level qualifications. The principles of design are the same; th erefore the skills development and learning experiences at National 4 will support the learning journey. At National 5, mandatory content is prescribed and external Course assessment is introduced. In planning for skills development, practitioners may fin d it helpful to refer to Bloom’s taxonomy (

) and the related work of Morag McGinlay (

). McGinlay’s skills path draws on Bloom’s taxonomy and demonstrates how learners can progress through their learning an d develop higher-order thinking skills. ADDED VALUE UNIT (NATIONAL 4, GEOGRAPHY) 5 © Crown copyright 2012

ADDED VALUE UNIT Reflective questions

Consider your current approaches to learning and teaching in National Qualification courses: ­ ­ How active is the learning in your current courses? In what ways are the skills of learners effect ively developed? What ­ ­ evidence do you have to support your conclusions? What aspects could be improved through increased use of active learning? What would the impact on learners be? 6 ADDED VALUE UNIT (NATIONAL 4, GEOGRAPHY) © Crown copyright 2012


Section 3: Added Value

The Added Value is what makes the course more than simply the sum of its parts. Added Value assessment describes how the breadth, challenge and application of the skills, knowledge and understanding developed by the learner throughout the Course will be assessed. For National 4 courses, the Added Value unit serves as the assessment and is internally assessed on a pass or fail basis. At National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher the Added Value is externally assessed through the Course assessment. The Added Value Unit for Geography, History and Moder n Studies takes the form of an assignment. SQA define an assignment as:

a problem-solving exercise with clear guidelines and structure. An assignment is particularly suited to the assessment of outcomes based on applying practical skills and related knowle dge and understanding to a situation that involves task management. Assignments are more structured and less open-ended than projects. They differ from practical activities in that they do not have to conform to a prescribed procedure and they are not concerned exclusively with technical skills.

For further detail on the requirements of the unit, practitioners should refer to the relevant SQA course and unit specifications. This information is available on the SQA website – Practitioners should note that the Added Value assignment is not necessarily an end of course activity, but rather it can be undertaken at any point. It involves selecting appropriate skills, knowledge and understanding and presenting the learning in a chosen format. The topic or issue chosen by the learner may relate to a single unit or may emerge from learning across units. The assignment should be seen as an opportunity for learners to demonstrate their abilities. They should make use of the knowledge, understanding a nd skills that have been gained during the Broad General Education and that they are gaining through their studies in the National 4 course. It should allow learners the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the topic chosen. The assignment also allows for personalisation and choice within the curriculum. It gives learners the opportunity to choose the topic or issue for study and the method of presentation. ADDED VALUE UNIT (NATIONAL 4, GEOGRAPHY) 7 © Crown copyright 2012

ADDED VALUE UNIT Reflective questions

­ ­ How will you facilitate for personalisation and choice in topic c hoice? What kinds of approaches to learning and teaching will best prepare ­ learners for undertaking the assignment? How can you support all learners in achieving success in the Added Value Unit? 8 ADDED VALUE UNIT (NATIONAL 4, GEOGRAPHY) © Crown copyright 2012


Section 4: What learners need to do in the Added Value Unit

This section of advice and guidance provides a brief overview of what learners need to do for the assignment, however, practitioners should refer to SQA documentation for detail on assessment requirements of the Added Value unit. In Geography, learners will:   choose an issue or topic for study apply basic geographic skills, which may include the use of fieldwork and/or mapping skills  collect and organising information from sources of information relevant to the topic or issue   use information on the topic or issue present their findings, showing the skills they have used and knowledge and understanding gained. © Crown copyright 2012 ADDED VALUE UNIT (NATIONAL 4, GEOGRAPHY) 9


Section 5: How learning can be presented for assessment

Learners can present their assignment in a way that will allow them to best demonstrate their knowledge and understanding and skills in order to meet the outcomes of the unit. There are many methods available. Practitioners should refer to the relevant SQA documentation regarding the detail of assessment requirements. It should be noted that the assignment presents opportunities for learners to engage with topics of their choice and should be an enjoyable experience of moving into more depth in an area of interest to the learner. Therefore, over assessment should be avoided. The following list of potential presentation methods is in no way prescriptive and simply outlines some of the many possibilities. Learners may demonstrate achievement of the outcomes of the unit in any appropriate form.

Digital presentation

  Learners may choose to present their assignment through a presentation to the class, a group or the practitioner. A variety of digital presentation programmes could be used depending on availability and the expertise of the learner.


    Could be a short film which contains the learner’s response. Could allow the learner to make use of filmed interviews or recorded interviews. Could involve the use of software such as Movie Maker to include a variety of information. Could take the form of a stop–go animation with voiceovers. 10 ADDED VALUE UNIT (NATIONAL 4, GEOGRAPHY) © Crown copyright 2012


Written piece

 A written report could be carried out with a range of possible options, including: ­ essay (possibly employing writing frames) ­ newspaper/magazine article ­ ­ ­ blog/wiki learning log or journal Comic Life.

Podcast Wall display Oral presentation/ interview with the practitioner

   This could be used to record the learner’s talk or presentation. Could take the format of a scripted or unscripted interview with a peer or expert in the subject. Could be presented in the style of a news broadcast.    This could include a range of styles of presentation of learning. May facilitate a creative response that would allow for wider presentation of the learning with others. Displays can be employed in an interactive fashion as questions can be asked by anyone who views this.    This could take the form of a short talk to the class, a group or the practitioner. A talk may be expected to last around 5 minutes. A well-organised talk will be structured in a manner that will satisfy the demands of the Added Value Unit. Following any form of presentation, it may be appropriate for the learner to answer some oral questions from peers and/or the practitioner. ADDED VALUE UNIT (NATIONAL 4, GEOGRAPHY) 11 © Crown copyright 2012


Care should be taken not to over -credit such factors as IT skills and oral/written communication skills as opposed to th e subject specific skills, knowledge and understanding. The activity is primarily about developing the skills of the subject but, of course, presentation and communication skills are also important in the context of developing skills for learning, skills f or life and skills for work. 12 ADDED VALUE UNIT (NATIONAL 4, GEOGRAPHY) © Crown copyright 2012


Section 6: Making use of ICT for recording and presenting learning


A blog can also be described as a ‘web log’. There are many ways in which learners could use a blog to communicate their progress and findings with practitioners, peers and parents. Blogs allow learners to update their progress from a computer or smart phone and provide a platform for keeping a log or journal if desired. You may wish to consider using Glow Blogs:


Wikis provide opportunities for learners to collaborate with other learners and teachers, and share what they have learned. A wiki is a website that lets any learner (or indeed anyone else you want) become a participant: you can create or edit the actual site contents without any special technical knowledge. A wiki is continuously under revision. One famous example is Wikipedia, an online encyclopaedia with no authors but millions of contributors and editors. Wikis have controlled access to ensure learner information remains private. If a learner uses a wiki to present his/her findings, then the wiki can be built up throughout the research process. There are many examples on the internet of learners effectively using wikis for learning. You may wish to consider using Glow Wikis:

(requires Glow login)

Digital Presentations

If learners opt to present their assignment in the form of a present ation, they may wish to support this by employing some presentation software. In many cases this will take the form of a PowerPoint presentation. However, learners may have the ability to create their presentation in some of the many other formats available, such as Keynote, Prezi, Empressr, Powtoon. © Crown copyright 2012 ADDED VALUE UNIT (NATIONAL 4, GEOGRAPHY) 13


Learners may make use of other ICT in their assignment. Software such as Comic Life allows learners to create comic strip style documents and presentations where the detail of their learning can b e demonstrated in creative and engaging ways. Programmes such as Photostory or Movie Maker allow learners to create presentations that can capture and display their learning. The use of video cameras and USB microphones allow for a flexible approach to gathering material and presenting learning.

Reflective questions

­ How will you facilitate for personalisation and choice in methods of ­ ­ presentation for learners? What strengths do you have in using ICT to support learners? What considerations will you need to discuss regarding assessing the Added Value unit? 14 ADDED VALUE UNIT (NATIONAL 4, GEOGRAPHY) © Crown copyright 2012


Section 7: Considerations for planning

In planning for the Added Value assignment, practitioners should bear in mind, as noted previously, that learning developed throughout the course can be drawn upon, that sources and materials gathered in the other units can be utilised and that the assignment can be carried out at any point during the course. It will be important to allow learners the opportunity to engage in dialogue and reflection over their choice of topic or issue and to consider in detail what they will need to do. It may be beneficial for some learners to work with peers on many aspects of the assignment before producing an individual final piece. A collegiate approach to thinking about an d planning the assignment may help to foster an ethos that supports quality peer and self evaluation of learning and may support learners in developing their higher order thinking skills through discussion. There is an expectation that practitioners will support learners, as appropriate, throughout all stages of the assignment, including in the phase of choosing topics and issues. Allowing learners the opportunity to engage in activities that help the class consider potential assignment topics and issues, sources of information and ways of carrying out research, processing research and presenting findings, will support learners and encourage engagement. Practitioners may consider ways of helping learners to benefit from opportunities to learn outwith the classroom when working on the Added Value unit. There may be local people, places, groups, organisations that would be useful places either for classes, groups or individuals to visit as part of their course that would contribute to the assignment, or pure ly to inform research for the assignment. © Crown copyright 2012 ADDED VALUE UNIT (NATIONAL 4, GEOGRAPHY) 15


Section 8: Exemplification of potential approaches to learning and teaching for the Added Value Unit in National 4 Geography

This table outlines the exemplification provided. The examples are designed to encourage reflective thinking for practitioners in considering the Added Value Unit in their own contexts. They do not represent prescribed approaches or assessment standards. Following these exemplars there is an example of one potential approach to creating a ‘Learner Guide’.

Topic Research skills Processing & Presenting Techniques

1 Physical environment

Glaciated uplands – land use in the Cairngorms   Internet research Planning card discussions    Labelled maps Labelled photos PowerPoint presentation

2 Physical environment

River study   Fieldsketching measuring     Labelled fieldsketches labelled photos line graphs PowerPoint presentation

3 Human environment

Rural areas – organic farming     Visit to organic farm interviewing farmer mapping land use photographing     Labelled photos Cross-section Flow diagram ComicLife presentation 16 ADDED VALUE UNIT (NATIONAL 4, GEOGRAPHY) © Crown copyright 2012

ADDED VALUE UNIT 4 Human environment

Developed and developing countries – Haiti Earthquake

5 Human environment

Urban areas – housing zones – Shopping Centre

6 Global issues

Climate change – flooding in Bangladesh    Internet research Human Development Index Newspaper Article   Survey Map / Plan   Taking notes from video Notes from texts    Graphs Labelled Photo Written Report     Labelled transect Sphere of influence map Bar graphs Written report  Podcast © Crown copyright 2012 ADDED VALUE UNIT (NATIONAL 4, GEOGRAPHY) 17


Example of potential content for a ‘Learner Guide’ Research question

Once you have chosen your topic you must set yourself a question that you want to find the answer to. Try to think of a question that will allow you to give reasons for your findings rather than simple descriptions. For example: Rivers – Why is erosion taking place on this meander of the river? Coasts – What influences the shape of this stretch of coastline? Farming – Is relief the main influence on the choice of farming on thi s farm? Wind power – Should permission be given for a wind farm at this site? Population policies – Has China’s one-child policy been a success? Change in the inner city – Have recent changes had a positive impact on this part of the inner city? Shopping – Has this new shopping centre been welcomed? Genetically modified crops – Should the UK be making more use of genetically modified crops? Climate change – Why will climate change have a greater impact on Bangladesh than the UK? Fair trade – Why is fair trade important to farmers in Kenya? Eco-tourism – Has eco-tourism been a success in Brazil’s rainforest? Cholera – Why is cholera still a problem in parts of Zimbabwe? 18 ADDED VALUE UNIT (NATIONAL 4, GEOGRAPHY) © Crown copyright 2012


Collecting information

Once you have decided on your question you need to look for information to help you answer it or use the information you collected as a class. There are two main ways that you can find out information .

Primary sources

This involves you carrying out fieldwork. Fieldwork techniques include things like interviews, questionnaires, mapping, fieldsketching/photographing, measuring (rivers/weather) and counting (traffic/pedestrians).

Secondary sources

This involves looking for information in libraries or on the internet. Sources of information could include things like textbooks, newspaper articles, websites, census data and published surveys. You need to use at least


sources of information. For example, if you were carrying out a farm study you might want to interview the farmer and also map the use of t he fields on the farm. If you were investigating climate change you might want to look for relevant newspaper articles and search the internet for appropriate websites. You should be able to comment on any problems that you experienced while carrying out your research. © Crown copyright 2012 ADDED VALUE UNIT (NATIONAL 4, GEOGRAPHY) 19


Processing information

Once you have collected all the information that you need you are going to process this information. There are a variety of ways that you can do this but you must choose the most appropriate way for your type of information. Processing techniques include things like graphs, maps, cross -sections and labelled sketches or photos. You need to use at least


processing techniques. You must not simply copy a diagram from a textbook or website. You can adapt diagrams but there must be some of your own work involved. Including a location map in your introduction is perfectly acceptable but would not count as a processing technique.

Presenting findings

Now you have your two sources of information and have used yo ur processing techniques to create two diagrams you are ready to present your findings. This presentation can take a variety of forms, including (but not only):              podcast talk PowerPoint presentation KeyNote presentation Prezi presentation ComicLife photo essay video documentary information leaflet/poster magazine article newspaper report web page written report. 20 ADDED VALUE UNIT (NATIONAL 4, GEOGRAPHY) © Crown copyright 2012


The finished assignment should include the following:  Introduction – this should provide some background information on the   topic you have chosen and refer to the location of the area you have investigated. Research question – you should outline your research question. Sources – you should describe how you collected your information and any  problems you encountered in carrying out your research. Findings – you should outline your main findings by referring to your two diagrams.  Conclusion – briefly summarise the answer to your research question. You should discuss your ideas and your progress with your teacher who will help and support you. It might help you to keep a log of work/video diary/blog to show the different stages that you are going through. © Crown copyright 2012 ADDED VALUE UNIT (NATIONAL 4, GEOGRAPHY) 21