This topical and challenging course is packed with up-to-date, real-life case studies that motivate and absorb pupils, and use Scottish and wider-world examples throughout. There is an investigative approach to geographical issues and topics which encourages pupils to work independently, in addition, a range of engaging exercises help pupils build vital geographical skills and specific activities develop literacy, numeracy and ICT skills.
There are three units within the course and these are outlined below:
Physical Environment Unit
Pupils will explore the natural events which have shaped the formation of Scottish and UK physical landscapes, the areas studied will vary from coastal features to glaciated landscapes, from limestone scenery to rivers. They will also examine the pressures on our natural environment, and through case studies look at solutions to managing and sustaining our unique environment. No physical study of the UK would be complete without acknowledging the role that our weather and climate play in influencing our lives, so pupils also look at develop a better understanding of why our weather is so unpredictable.
Human Environment Unit
Pupils will study, compare and contrast the countries of our planet. Key themes will include inequality between the rich and poor nations, world population distribution, reasons for the changes in world population growth , global health and disease, case studies looking at changes in urban and rural landscape in the UK and India.
Global Issues Unit
Pupils will develop a knowledge and understanding of significant global geographical issues. Topics covered here will be chosen from: climate change and sustainability, natural regions, environmental hazards- earthquakes, volcanoes and tropical storms, trade and globalisation and development & health. They will also explore strategies being adopted to manage these issues.
Added Value Unit: Geography: Project (National 4)
In this unit, pupils will choose an issue for personal study drawn from physical environments, human environments or global issues topics. They will research their issue and present their findings in the form of a booklet, poster, power point or similar.
Added Value Unit: Geography: Assignment (National 5)
In this unit pupils will choose a geographical issue and write up a research project based on fieldwork. This will give them the opportunity to demonstrate their geographical skills and the project will be marked by the SQA.
A variety of active learning and teaching strategies will be involved , from teacher led explanation and discussion to individual work; paired work ;group work ;fieldwork; researching and presenting information ;interpretation and analysis of various geographical sources of information ; self and peer evaluation of work produced.
Pupils will receive homework on a regular basis, this might involve finishing off class work, revising for assessments or undertaking research into investigation work.
National 4 courses are internally assessed by the class teacher - there is no final exam to sit.
To achieve an award you must pass the assessment for each of the three units, plus a research based Added Value Assignment (Geography Project). These units including the project are assessed by the teacher on a pass/fail basis.
To gain the award for National 5, you must sit a final SQA exam and send in your Geography Project for the exam board to mark. You must also pass all the internal assessment for each of the three units.
So to sum up, the National 5 course assessment will consist of an exam paper which will account for 75% of your final grade and an Added Value Assignment which will account for 25% of your final grade. The course assessment is graded A-D.
Recording and Reporting
All pupil assessments are routinely graded and recorded by the teacher and the results are stored centrally, these results are used by staff to track the progress of the individuals and ensure that their needs are being met. Pupils also review their own attainment and are encourage to identify ways to improve their learning. Staff report formally to parents as per the school calendar, however any concerns about a pupil's progress would be raised our weekly departmental meeting. After speaking with the pupil, if need be we would contact home by phone or letter, discuss our concern with our Guidance and Support for Learning colleagues or indeed with the Senior Management Team.
Below is some useful information provided to parents & pupils from the National Parent Forum of Scotland
Pointers for parents & pupils
S4 Course Outline
|Examiner marks||Your marks|
|Research Methods||6 /6||/6|
|Research Findings||6 /14||/14|
|Total||12/ 20||/ 20|
Candidate 1 - River Study (Commentary revised April 2016)
Candidate 1 has achieved 12 out of a possible 20 marks for the National 5 Geography Assignment.
The candidate was awarded 6 out of 6 marks
A mark was awarded at the end of the first sentence for the technique of measuring river depth. A second mark was awarded for the content within the second sentence in this section which gives further development of the technique (use of a metre stick to measure depth).The candidate gained two further marks in the third and fourth sentences for a more detailed explanation about measuring depth ie explaining that the metre stick touches the bottom and by making measurements at 1 metre intervals across the river. At this point the candidate has achieved the maximum number of 4 marks allowed for one technique.
However, in the fifth sentence the candidate goes on to describe the second technique - use of a flow meter to measure velocity - so gained a fifth mark. A developed point is then made in the following sentence about repeating the flowmeter measurements regularly across the river at the same 1 meter intervals. This statement gained a sixth mark.
The candidate achieved full marks for this section at this point. The final statement simply repeats the research topic and would not receive credit.
The candidate was awarded 6 out of 14 marks for their research findings and conclusion.
In the second sentence the candidate gained their first mark for stating the result that “the depth in the upper course of the river is much shallower than the lower course”. A second mark was awarded for a development of this point in the third sentence. A third mark was awarded in the fourth sentence for further development of the results found about depth in the lower course “the river got up to 58cms deep”. The fifth sentence gained a fourth mark for a summative statement about the differences in river depth between the upper and lower courses. The candidate gained the maximum of four marks available for their description of findings.
In the seventh sentence the candidate describes the results for velocity - that the upper course was much faster than the lower course – which could have gained a descriptive mark. They then make two further descriptive points about river velocity - firstly by quantifying the maximum river speeds found in the upper and lower course, and secondly by quantifying the minimum river speeds in the upper and lower courses. These would also have merited descriptive marks. However, the candidate had already received the maximum number of four descriptive marks by the end of the fifth sentence
Later in the final two sentences of this answer the candidate goes on to offer explanations for their findings and so is able to gain a further two marks. In the second last sentence the candidate explains that the faster river speed in the upper course is due to the steeper gradient. In the final sentence the candidate goes on to give a good explanation as to why the river is slower flowing in the lower course. So in addition to the four marks for description the candidate has gained a total of two marks for explanation
The candidate gains no further marks here. In practice, sections B and C are marked together, so for this candidate further marks were still available but all of the statements made in the conclusion simply repeat findings or conclusions which they have already made in the research findings section. The candidate does not receive credit twice for making the same point.