REPORT ON CANDIDATES’ WORK IN THE ADVANCED PROFICIENCY EXAMINATION MAY/JUNE 2010
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GENERAL COMMENTS The Caribbean Studies examination comprised three papers — Paper 01 consisted of 15 compulsory short-response questions, Paper 02 consisted of eight essay questions of which candidates were required to answer four, and Paper 03 was the Internal Assessment component for which candidates conducted research and submitted a research paper. Paper 03/1, the alternative to the Internal Assessment, was written by private candidates. Paper 01 contributed 27 per cent to candidates‘ overall grade, Paper 02 contributed 33 per cent, and Papers 03/1 and 03/2 each contributed 40 per cent to candidates‘ overall grade.
DETAILED COMMENTS Paper 01 – Short-Response Questions
Once again candidates are required to read all questions carefully. They are to note key elements of questions, such as terms that are to be defined, concepts which are to be explained and/or analysed. Also, candidates should note the limits within time periods and always provide examples when asked to do so. Candidates who performed well on their responses had not only prepared the topics, but also paid close attention to the requirements of the questions. Module 1 – Caribbean Society and Culture Question 1 This question tested candidates‘ knowledge of the basic geography of the Caribbean area and included three specific questions. In Part (a), candidates were required to outline one advantage of defining the Caribbean in geographical terms; they produced a variety of responses, not all of which were accurate. The stronger candidates wrote succinct answers which included references to the chain of islands at the archipelago and the central place of the Caribbean Sea. There was also mention of features such as the nearness to the mainlands of North and South America, the practical matter of longitude and latitude, the route of annual hurricanes coming from the African coast and the site of several islands which are former volcanoes. There were also references to the trade winds, the Caribbean Plate and the ocean currents. For Part (b), candidates cited as one disadvantage of using a geological basis for defining the Caribbean the fact that geology was the study of rock forms and that there was no single consistent rock type which typified the Caribbean. Consequently, countries varied considerably in their physical profiles. Other points included the fact that countries which are not normally regarded as Caribbean, for example, Guyana and the Bahamas, would be excluded from such a definition and the opposite groups which include Panama and Nicaragua would be included. These responses indicated that candidates were well prepared for the question. Weaker candidates confined themselves to vague and generalized responses which did not highlight the critical features of the Caribbean region.
Part (c) required candidates to provide a rationale for describing Mexico as ‗Caribbean‘. The most creditable responses emphasized Mexico‘s closeness to the Caribbean islands, the shared profile of being impacted by Caribbean hurricanes, the common history of colonialism, and the fact of close, modern travel connections. Weaker candidates suggested that Mexico was ―washed by the Caribbean Sea‖, which was, of course, inaccurate. Question 2 This question required candidates to focus on the issue of volcanic systems in the Caribbean. In Part (a), which required a definition of the term ‗plate tectonics‘, candidates were generally able to score a mark by referring to the fact that the earth‘s crust consisted of ‗plates‘ or large masses of rock, some of which were constantly moving. However, candidates who contended that such movement took place above rather than below the earth‘s surface could not gain any marks. Several candidates...