Final Content for Subject criteria published

Following a long wait, the government has today published the final criteria for film studies and media studies at GCSE and A level, for specifications which will start in September 2017.

The subject content for GCSE can be accessed here and for AS and A level here

The government response to the consultations for all subjects can be downloaded here. This details the objections raised by those who contributed to the consultation and the government’s responses. Thank you to everyone who sent in responses, even if most of what you said has been ignored!

Finally, the document on the potential impact of changes on those groups with protected characteristics (i.e. equality impact) is here.

Overall, The MEA takes the view that these outcomes are no surprise, but they are disappointing nonetheless. There are some total absurdities in the documents which claim to have the support of stakeholders, which we would strongly dispute. Nonetheless, we know that we will have to live with these versions of the subjects in the coming years and that the exam boards will need to try to negotiate a way through them.

Expect some critiques both here and on the blogs of leading media educationalists in the coming weeks!

Share

Share

Upcoming events and recent conference

A reminder that there are places till available for the teachmeet at The English and Media Centre on Thursday 7 January starting 4.30 with guest speaker Julian Sefton Green on at 5.30

Tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/mea-teachmeet-thursday-tickets-20094894370

Into Film are running a teachmeet on 18 January at London CLC in Clapham 4.30-6.30. It’s all about digital technology in the classroom:

http://teachmeet.pbworks.com/w/page/103136602/Into%20Film%20TeachMEET
Monday 18th January at 4.30pm until 6.30pm . at. London CLC. Rectory Grove, Clapham, SW4 0EL

Our recent Primary media education conference was a great success and you can now download three of the presentations here:

pdfresizer.com_2016-01-06_21-03 from Michelle Cannon

London CLC Media Conf Nov 15

Key Slides MEA Moving Learning On

Share

Share

Teachmeet Thursday!

Following our successful Teachmeet Tuesday events in September and October, you are cordially invited to sign up for the first MEA twilight session of 2016!

Drinks and nibbles from 4.30

Speaker (from 5.30) Julian Sefton-Green:

The Media in Everyday Life: Learning and the Dis/Connected Home

This presentation draws on a year –long ethnography into the ‘learning lives’ of 13-14 year olds in London to be published as The Class Living and learning in the Digital Age by Sonia Livingstone and Julian Sefton-Green in 2016.

Focusing on the everyday, quotidian, domesticated and routine uses of media in the home, the talk describes how learning is constructed, mediated and enacted in six families showing how these families adopt and use folk ‘theories of learning’ in the home, and how such theories relate to dominant discourses around learning in school. I examine how media technologies – especially how they are purchased and how they are located in the home – also contribute to dominant conceptualizations of learning and at times almost seem to stand for a proxy measure of it. Thirdly, I will draw on observations and accounts of how learning is enacted as a discipline and as a habit within the ebb and flow of family life. I aim to question assumptions about how we talk about learning in the home by showing that who defines learning in domestic contexts, and on what basis, is subject to a series of class-based, inherited and aspirational discourses and imaginaries.

Julian Sefton-Green is currently Principal Research Fellow at the Department of Media & Communication, LSE and an associate professor at the University of Oslo. He is Visiting Professor at he Playful Learning Centre, University of Helsinki, Finland. Julian has worked as a schoolteacher, in teacher training and in the informal education sector. He has researched and written widely on many aspects of media education, digital culture, creativity, new technologies and informal learning. Recent volumes include Learning at Not-School (2013, MIT Press); and co-editing Identity, Community and Learning Lives in the Digital Age (2013 Cambridge University Press) and Literacy and Learning over Time (Routledge 2014).

WHEN
Thursday, 7 January 2016 from 16:30 to 19:00

Share

Share

MEA recommendations for the consultations

There are TWO separate consultation documents and we would urge all film and media teachers to complete both. If you can persuade sympathetic colleagues, parents and headteachers to complete the consultations too, that would help to make our case on the issues that matter and may just provide enough to persuade Ofqual and the DFE of our case.

The Ofqual document is here.

The DFE consultation is here.

The deadline for responses is NOVEMBER 5th.

Our response to the OFQUAL consultation for film is that we feel the assessment objectives are problematic, in that the study of the institution of cinema appears to be discontinued, making the subject a textual study only. We are also concerned about the over-emphasis upon screenplays. We disagree with the proportion of marks allocated to exams and non-exam assessment, believing that the allocation should be 50/50. We have also queried the shift to individual from group work.

We have made many specific points on film in our submission to the DFE on subject content (see below).

On media, we support the assessment objectives but not their weighting, again arguing that the balance should be 50/50 and that group work should remain. We argue that the emphasis upon theory in media studies is disproportionate.

The text of our submissions is below:

Film Studies

GCSE Film Studies

Assessment Objectives

Whilst welcoming the range of assessment objectives, we are uncertain why, in AO2, there is reference to analyzing films and their relationship to screenplays. Whilst welcoming the requirement to analyse films, there seems no logic in linking this with screenplays. Those screenplays which can be obtained legally bear little or no relationship to the development of scripts – from first script through shooting script. Those scripts which are available are normally created a posteri in order to reflect what we see on the screen. We would recommend that reference to scripts is removed from its current position and is added to AO1 so that it reads “and how film scripts and storyboards are used in the development of a film”.

We regret that only 20% of the overall marks are awarded to the production element of the specification. Similarly we feel that requiring each candidate to undertake their own production means that they will fail to understand the collaborative nature of film making.

We regret that there is no mention of the industrial practice of film making – production, distribution and exhibition. We feel that any understanding of film, as well as being placed in a historical, cultural and technological perspective also needs to be examined through the study and understanding of institutional practice which will certainly be required for issues such as spectatorship and reception.

Subject content

We welcome the requirement for candidates to have access to a broad range of films, from both an historical and cultural perspective. We would, however, expect that as well as an understanding of technological developments that candidates would also be expected to have an understanding of the ways in which institutional influences affect the ways not only in how films are understood but also how they can shape the ways in which audiences access and understand films. We would hope that references to institutions – production, distribution and exhibition, be included within the subject content.

Whilst item 8 students are required to consider production budgets ( something which is very difficult to access with any reliability, we would also expect students to consider the ways in which films are marketed and exhibited. Whilst this is touched on in paragraph 16 we feel that there should be specific reference within the subject content to development and changes in the ways in which films are circulated, marketed and consumed.

Items 10 through 13 seem overly detailed and, whilst not losing the rigour of the subject content, should be reduced to an acceptable level for GCSE.

Under skills, the requirement to analyse films from the perspective of “film criticism” might well encourage students to write very basic “film reviews” We would suggest that the subject content be rewritten so that a more critical (as in critical analysis) approach be introduced in order to avoid this pitfall.

We welcome the generic approach to film making as well as references to genre in other areas of the subject content.

A Level Film Studies

Assessment objectives

As with GCSE, we would reiterate our comments regarding the mention of screen plays and that candidates should be required to analyse films from a variety of critical/theoretical approaches and that any study of the specificities of a screenplay be placed under AO1.

We regret that there is no mention of the industrial practice of film making – production, distribution and exhibition. We feel that any understanding of film, as well as being placed in a historical, cultural and technological perspective also needs to be examined through the study and understanding of institutional practice which will certainly be required for issues such as spectatorship and reception.

We regret that only 20% of the overall marks are awarded to the production element of the specification. Similarly we feel that requiring each candidate to undertake their own production means that they will fail to understand the collaborative nature of film making.

Subject Content

We welcome the requirement for students to study a wide variety of films from an historical, cultural and technological perspective. We would, however, expect that as well as an understanding of technological developments that candidates would also be expected to have an understanding of the ways in which institutional influences affect the ways not only in how films are understood but also how they can shape the ways in which audiences access and understand films. We would hope that references to institutions – production, distribution and exhibition, be included within the subject content.

The aims and objectives are rigorous and clearly range across the development of film as an art form from both aesthetic as well as technological developments. The requirement to explore film in all of its various forms, from the feature film to the experimental, from the silent film to the short film. We would welcome mention of the documentary format within this list.

We would welcome mention of generic approaches to film, developing ideas which are seen in the GCSE Film Studies subject content, relating genre to narrative and representation.

We feel that the requirements for cinematography, sound, editing and mise en scene are over detailed and prescriptive and are too complex for students at this level.

We welcome the requirements for students to study film maker’s theoretical approach to film as well as approaches by theorists and feel that this joint approach could lead to some interesting critical “collisions” which could challenge students in their analysis of the set films.

We welcome the fact that students are asked to apply theories and not simply “learn” theories for their own sake.

We would reiterate that we believe that the following should be included in the subject content:

Generic approaches to film, in particular with reference to narrative and spectatorship as well as the institutional importance of genre.

institutional approaches to film – it is vital to examine issues of distribution and exhibition of film as these will certainly affect the subject content outlined in paragraphs 8, 9, 10, 26,27 and 28.

References to auteurism seem outdated and although “auteur” names are important when it comes to film marketing and audience reception to ask students to study “auteurs” is a retrograde step.

Media Studies

We welcome the theoretical framework defining conceptual areas of study, and the flexibility to use texts which are both critically acclaimed and of popular significance with relevance to students’ lives. The content is highly challenging, and allows students to more easily engage with contemporary media debates and practices than the current specs. It also links well to the approaches required at A Level.

However, the content seems to exceed the demand of subjects such as English Literature in requiring a far broader range of forms and texts, including those relating to emerging technologies around which theoretical perspectives are still being negotiated. In particular the references to named media theorists seem particularly demanding, relating to complex aspects of media theory currently covered, frequently problematically, at AS and A level. While we understand problems of overlap, we are concerned about the disqualification of film-related tasks from production work.

We would also hope to secure the highest weighting possible for production, which requires a far more challenging range of analytic, creative and technological skills than the discursive writing required in say Literature GCSE, and is translated here from what is normally a collaborative problem-solving process to individual responsibility for high-order skills

We applaud the clarity and pedagogy of the aims and objectives, and particularly the breadth and range of text and topics for study, which we believe will enable students to approach HE and adult life with a strong body of knowledge, skills and critical understanding.

We warmly welcome the accessible and comprehensive nature of the theoretical framework for knowledge and understanding (paras 13 – 18, 21-22, and 26-26), which is very helpfully broken down and defines the field objectively for both students and their teachers. It marks a clear development from GCSE, building in complexity and addressing in depth some of the areas introduced earlier. However, we are aware that some of this content overlaps with study at HE, and that the level of challenge needs to allow for further development at university level without duplication, (as has happened in the past).

We believe that the proposed breadth of media and types of study is extremely demanding, compared to many other subjects, and will require careful selection at the point of assessment.

We are also extremely concerned about the seemingly arbitrary range of theorists named as compulsory. Media is a broad multidisciplinary subject drawing on a wide range of constantly changing perspectives, some of which are still emergent. While suggested examples of appropriate theorists are valuable, it would be more helpful to suggest a list of possible theorists for each area in an Appendix rather than the body of the document, which could easily become a theorist’s Bible.

We welcome the inclusion of both an individual media production and a cross-media project which will allow students to extend their skills at a more challenging level as they progress through their course. We would strongly argue for this to be weighted as highly as possible, as for GCSE, given the demands of production work, and the rigour required in constructing texts to exemplify understanding of sophisticated theoretical models.

We strongly regret the focus on individually produced practical work, and believe it is unrealistic to expect work produced under such constraints to demonstrate full theoretical understanding. We would hope that some consideration can be given in the specifications to the significance of collaboration in media production and the media industries.

When filling out the consultation documents, we would urge contributors to draw attention to the following:

the loss of group production
the reduction in the proportion of non-exam assessment
the absence of industry in film studies
the over-emphasis upon theory, notably the named list which should be examples rather than compulsory study

Share

Share