A2 | Geography

A Level geography encourages students to gain enjoyment, satisfaction and a sense of achievement as they develop their knowledge and understanding of the subject. This A Level course will enable students to be inspired by their geographical understanding, to engage critically with real world issues and places, and to apply their geographical knowledge, theory and skills to the world around them. Students will grow as independent thinkers and as informed and engaged citizens, who understand the role and importance of geography as one of the key disciplines relevant to understanding the world’s changing peoples, places and environments.

Key Stage 5 Co-Ordinator:

Mr. G Delbourgo 

Overview

The aims and objectives of this qualification are to enable students to build on their AS knowledge and skills to:

  • develop their knowledge of locations, places, processes and environments, at all geographical scales from local to global across the specification as a whole
  • develop an in-depth understanding of the selected core and non-core processes in physical and human geography at a range of temporal and spatial scales, and of the concepts that illuminate their significance in a range of locational contexts
  • recognise and be able to analyse the complexity of people–environment interactions at all geographical scales, and appreciate how they underpin understanding of some of the key issues facing the world today
  • develop their understanding of, and ability to apply, the concepts of place, space, scale and environment, that underpin both the national curriculum and GCSE, including developing a more nuanced understanding of these concepts
  • gain understanding of specialised concepts relevant to the core and non-core content. These must include the concepts of causality, systems, equilibrium, feedback, inequality, representation, identity, globalisation, interdependence, mitigation and adaptation, sustainability, risk, resilience and thresholds
  • improve their understanding of the ways in which values, attitudes and circumstances have an impact on the relationships between people, place and environment, and develop the knowledge and ability to engage, as citizens, with the questions and issues arising (‘circumstances’ in this case refers to the context of people’s lives, and the socio-economic and political milieu in which they find themselves)
  • become confident and competent in selecting, using and evaluating a range of quantitative and qualitative skills and approaches, (including observing, collecting and analysing geo- located data) and applying them as an integral part of their studies
  • understand the fundamental role of fieldwork as a tool to understand and generate new knowledge about the real world, and become skilled at planning, undertaking and evaluating fieldwork in appropriate situations
  • apply geographical knowledge, understanding, skills and approaches in a rigorous way to a range of geographical questions and issues, including those identified in fieldwork, recognising both the contributions and limitations of geography
  • develop as critical and reflective learners, able to articulate opinions, suggest relevant new ideas and provide evidenced argument in a range of situations
  • build on knowledge of contexts, locations, places and environments, by extending the scope and scale of study, the variety of physical, social, economic, cultural and political contexts encountered, the depth of conceptual understanding required, and the range of spatial and temporal scales included
  • develop a deep understanding of both physical and human processes, applying this understanding to interrogate people–environment interactions and people–place connections at all scales from local to global
  • build on and reinforce conceptual understanding underpinning GCSE, experiencing an extended demand that includes a wider range of more complex and specialised concepts that relate to the core and non-core content
  • engage with models, theories and generalisations, and develop a mature understanding of the nature and limitations of objectivity and the significance of human values and attitudes
  • develop understanding of the rationale for, and applications of, skills and approaches used, showing a considerable degree of independence in selecting and using a wide range of geographical methods, techniques and skills, involving both qualitative and quantitative methods
  • undertake fieldwork that encourages them to apply and evaluate theory in the real world, and that A Level fieldwork in particular demands a high degree of responsibility from students for selecting research questions, applying relevant techniques and skills, and identifying appropriate ways of analysing and communicating findings.

 

Content & Assessment Overview:

The Pearson Edexcel Level 3 Advanced GCE in Geography consists of three externally- examined papers and one coursework component.

Paper 1 (Paper code: 9GE0/01)

Written examination: 2 hours and 15 minutes 30% of the qualification

105 marks

Content overview1

●    Area of study 1, Topic 1: Tectonic Processes and Hazards

●    Area of study 1, Topic 2: Landscape Systems, Processes and Change – including optional sub-topics from which students choose one from two: 2A: Glaciated Landscapes and Change or 2B: Coastal Landscapes and Change

●    Area of study 3, Topic 5: The Water Cycle and Water Insecurity

●    Area of study 3, Topic 6: The Carbon Cycle and Energy Security

Assessment overview

An externally-assessed written examination comprising three sections.

Section A relates to Topic 1: Tectonic Processes and Hazards.

Section B relates to Topic 2: Landscape Systems, Processes and Change. Students answer questions on either Topic 2A: Glaciated Landscapes and Change or Topic 2B: Coastal Landscapes and Change.

Section C relates to Topic 5: The Water Cycle and Water Insecurity and Topic 6: The Carbon Cycle and Energy Security.

The examination may include short open, open response and resource-linked questions. The examination includes 12-mark and 20-mark extended writing questions. Calculators may be used.

Paper 2 (Paper code: 9GE0/02)

Written examination: 2 hours and 15 minutes 30% of the qualification

105 marks

Content overview1

●    Area of study 2, Topic 3: Globalisation

●    Area of study 2, Topic 4: Shaping Places – including optional sub-topics from which students choose one from two: 4A Regenerating Places or 4B Diverse Places

●    Area of study 4, Topic 7: Superpowers

●    Area of study 4, Topic 8: Global Development and Connections – including optional sub-topics from which students choose one from two: 8A Health, Human Rights and Intervention or

8B Migration, Identity and Sovereignty

Assessment overview

An externally-assessed written examination comprising three sections.

Section A relates to Topics 3 and 7: Globalisation / Superpowers.

Section B relates to Topic 4: Shaping Places. Students answer questions on either Topic 4A: Regenerating Places or Topic 4B: Diverse Places.

Section C relates to Topic 8: Global Development and Connections. Students answer questions on either Topic 8A: Health, Human Rights and Intervention or Topic 8B: Migration, Identity and Sovereignty.

The examination may include short open, open response and resource-linked questions. The examination includes 12-mark and 20-mark extended writing questions. Calculators may be used.

 

Paper 3 (*Paper code: 9GE0/03)

Written examination: 2 hours and 15 minutes 20% of the qualification

70 marks

Content overview

The specification contains three synoptic themes within the compulsory1 content areas:

●    Players

●    Attitudes and actions

●    Futures and uncertainties.

The synoptic investigation will be based on a geographical issue within a place-based context that links to the three synoptic themes and is rooted in two or more of the compulsory content areas.

Assessment overview

An externally-assessed written examination comprising three sections. A resource booklet will contain information about the geographical issue.

Sections A, B and C all draw synoptically on knowledge and understanding from compulsory content drawn from different parts of the course.

The examination may include short open, open response and resource-linked questions. The examination includes 8-mark, 18-mark and 24-mark extended writing questions. Calculators may be used.

Coursework: Independent Investigation (9GE0/04)

Non-examined assessment 20% of the qualification

70 marks

Content overview

●    The student defines a question or issue for investigation, relating to the compulsory or optional content. The topic may relate to any aspect of geography contained within the specification

●    The student’s investigation will incorporate fieldwork data (collected individually or as part of a group) and own research and/or secondary data

●    The fieldwork, which forms the focus and context of the individual investigation, may be either human, physical or integrated physical-human

●    The investigation report will evidence independent analysis and evaluation of data, presentation of data findings and extended writing

●    Students will be expected to show evidence that they have used both quantitative and qualitative data to support their independent investigation as appropriate to the particular environment and/or location.

Assessment overview

●    The investigation report is internally assessed and externally moderated.

●    The student will produce a written report of 3000–4000 words.


Area of Study 1: Dynamic Landscapes

Topic 1: Tectonic processes & hazards

Tectonic hazards – earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and secondary hazards such as tsunamis – represent a significant risk in some parts of the world. This is especially the case where active tectonic plate boundaries interact with areas of high population density and low levels of development. Resilience in these places can be low, and the interaction of physical systems with vulnerable populations can result in major disasters. An in-depth understanding of the causes of tectonic hazards is key to both increasing the degree to which they can be managed, and putting in place successful responses that can mitigate social and economic impacts and allow humans to adapt to hazard occurrence.

Topic 2: Landscape Systems, Processes and Change

Option 2B: Coastal Landscapes and Change

Coastal landscapes develop due to the interaction of winds, waves and currents, as well as through the contribution of both terrestrial and offshore sources of sediment. These flows of energy and variations in sediment budgets interact with the prevailing geological and lithological characteristics of the coast to operate as coastal systems and produce distinctive coastal landscapes, including those in rocky, sandy and estuarine coastlines. These landscapes are increasingly threatened from physical processes and human activities, and there is a need for holistic and sustainable management of these areas in all the world’s coasts. Study must include examples of landscapes from inside and outside the UK.

 

Area of Study 2: Dynamic Places

 

Topic 3: Globalisation

Globalisation and global interdependence continue to accelerate, resulting in changing opportunities for businesses and people. Inequalities are caused within and between countries as shifts in patterns of wealth occur. Cultural impacts on the identity of communities increase as flows of ideas, people and goods take place. Recognising that both tensions in communities and pressures on environments are likely, will help players implement sustainable solutions.

Topic 4: Shaping Places

Option 4a: Regenerating Places

Local places vary economically and socially with change driven by local, national and global processes. These processes include movements of people, capital, information and resources, making some places economically dynamic while other places appear to be marginalised. This creates and exacerbates considerable economic and social inequalities both between and within local areas. Urban and rural regeneration programmes involving a range of players involve both place making (regeneration) and place marketing (rebranding). Regeneration programmes impact variably on people both in terms of their lived experience of change and their perception and attachment to places. The relative success of regeneration and rebranding for individuals and groups depends on the extent to which lived experience, perceptions, and attachments to places are changed.

Students should begin by studying the place in which they live or study in order to look at economic change and social inequalities. They will then put this local place in context in order to understand how regional, national, international and global influences have led to changes there. They should then study one further contrasting place through which they will develop their wider knowledge and understanding about how places change and are shaped.

 

Area of Study 3: Physical Systems and Sustainability

 

Topic 5: The Water Cycle and Water Insecurity

 

Water plays a key role in supporting life on earth. The water cycle operates at a variety of spatial scales and also at short- and long-term timescales, from global to local. Physical processes control the circulation of water between the stores on land, in the oceans, in the cryosphere, and the atmosphere. Changes to the most important stores of water are a result of both physical and human processes.

Water insecurity is becoming a global issue with serious consequences and there is a range of different approaches to managing water supply.

 

Topic 6: The Carbon Cycle and Energy Security

A balanced carbon cycle is important in maintaining planetary health. The carbon cycle operates at a range of spatial scales and timescales, from seconds to millions of years. Physical processes control the movement of carbon between stores on land, the oceans and the atmosphere. Changes to the most important stores of carbon and carbon fluxes are a result of physical and human processes. Reliance on fossil fuels has caused significant changes to carbon stores and contributed to climate change resulting from anthropogenic carbon emissions.

The water and carbon cycles and the role of feedbacks in and between the two cycles, provide a context for developing an understanding of climate change.

Anthropogenic climate change poses a serious threat to the health of the planet. There is a range of adaptation and mitigation strategies that could be used, but for them to be successful they require global agreements as well as national actions.

 

Area of Study 4: Human Systems and Geopolitics

 

Topic 7: Superpowers

Superpowers can be developed by a number of characteristics. The pattern of dominance has changed over time. Superpowers and emerging superpowers have a very significant impact on the global economy, global politics and the environment. The spheres of influence between these powers are frequently contested, resulting in geopolitical implications.

 

Topic 8: Global Development and Connections

Option 8b: Migration, Identity and Sovereignty

Globalisation involves movements of capital, goods and people. Tensions can result between the logic of globalisation, with its growing levels of environmental, social and economic interdependence among people, economies and nation states and the traditional definitions of national sovereignty and territorial integrity. International migration not only changes the ethnic composition of populations but also changes attitudes to national identity. At the same time, nationalist movements have grown in some places challenging dominant models of economic change and redefining ideas of national identity.

Global governance has developed to manage a number of common global issues (environmental, social, political and economic) and has a mixed record in its success in dealing with them. It has promoted growth and political stability for some people in some places whilst not benefiting others. Unequal power relations have tended to lead to unequal environmental, social and economic outcomes.