For my Junior Diploma Candidates’ session #2 OPVL

For the Pre-TOK session #2, below is your assignment.

The task below assists in helping you master what you need to know and do as diploma candidates concerning the History IA during your Junior Year.

You will need to teach yourself about Origin, Purpose, Value, and Limitation [OPVL]- the four-part analysis that is one important facet of your Internal Assessment.  In order to better understand OPVL, you will need to read this handout that explains it thoroughly.  Then, you’ll need to apply your understanding by creating an analysis of the histories in documents one and two below.  You’ll need access to two documents on Reconstruction during the post-Civil War era in U. S. History.  Here are links to both document one and to document two.

As you work on this, you will need to consider the limitations of academic historical writing.  When you think about what historinans have written, you must do more than identify what is not included in the work. In addition, you should thoughtfully consider the issue – How has this scholar addressed this subject?

Other questions to consider are: What are some limits to how this scholar has approached this subject?  Limits may include (but are not limited to): sources considered to construct the work, the education and background of the scholar, and the word choice used to craft the work.

An important warning should include this – that this assignment is not ‘looking for bias’.  If anything, searching for bias has a role in other things you’d do when reading a history, but this task is different from that one.

After reading and analyzing these two documents, you should produce a one-page OPVL analysis on each of the two documents linked above.  Please print these two products, staple them together and turn them in to ms. Lund before leaving class.

If you’re smart, you will consider some of the assessor’s feedback (below) published in the May 2012 subject report [sent to Mr. Raines] last year.  Ask him about what he thinks.

May 2012 subject reports: Candidate performance against each criterion

Criterion A – Plan of the investigation

Most candidates were able to clearly express the research question and their approach or method to investigate it. As with past years a number of candidates did not state the research question in the plan of investigation while many outlined the scope and method. Some candidates used this section to provide a lengthy introduction instead of developing the scope and method for the investigation. Too often the research question was too broad with limited focus. There continues to be a group of candidates that simply state the two sources that they will evaluate for section C and believe that this qualifies as “method”.

Criterion B – Summary of evidence

Many of the historical investigations were well researched and the evidence clearly presented and referenced, though not always thoroughly or consistently. Referencing seemed to be improved slightly but there continues to be concerns due to a lack of referencing which limits the amount that can be awarded for this section to a maximum of two marks. Candidates continued to blend sections B and D, with analysis demonstrated in the summary of evidence, section B, and new evidence being used in section D, analysis.

Criterion C – Evaluation of sources

In this session strong candidates evaluated two sources adequately, explicitly developing origin, purpose, value and limitations. A number of candidates clearly identified their sources’ origin and purpose yet their actual evaluation was often limited to a consideration of the sources’ content and consequent utility, with little or no assessment of the sources’ possible reliability in terms of their origin and purpose. Many candidates lacked detailed knowledge of the sources and included assertions and speculative points which they do not successfully support. Allegations of bias were seldom supported by evidence. Many candidates also made a poor choice of the sources to evaluate. There seems to be an increase in selecting small excerpts from a larger source and then evaluating the excerpt and not the actual source.

Criterion D – Analysis

At the upper mark level candidates successfully utilized critical analysis of the evidence presented in section B with explicit references to the significance of the sources evaluated in section C. At the lower mark levels critical analysis was often limited with many candidates not fully analyzing the evidence presented in section B or demonstrating explicit awareness of the significance of the sources evaluated in section C. There seems to be an increase in new evidence being placed in this section which attempts to compensate for a lack of evidence in section B. The candidate would improve the quality of the summary of evidence as well as receiving credit for the material if it was correctly placed. In samples where research questions were not clearly stated, the resulting analysis was unfocused and lacked depth. There continues to be a lack of understanding by some candidates and centres that it is necessary to include references to be awarded a mark above two.

Criterion E – Conclusion

The majority did have a consistent conclusion, supported by the evidence presented. Even though the majority were consistent there seemed to be an increase in inconsistent conclusions.

Criterion F – Sources and word limit

Many candidates produced a list of sources using a standard citation and referencing method consistently yet there was some variation in the presentation of bibliographies with a number of candidates needing more guidance concerning the necessary conventions. A few candidates exceeded the word limit when a small amount of editing would have allowed the sample to stay within the limits of the investigation. There seemed to be fewer candidates this year that did not place the word count on the title page.

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