We often hear the words, KU, Analyse and Evaluate. But do we know what good Analysis looks like? This guide to RMPS Skills is found in the SQA National 5 Course Specification. It’s a handy document to read through for both teachers and pupils.
Knowledge and Understanding
The level of knowledge expected at National 5 is described as ‘straightforward’. This term is used in the SCQF framework and is preceded by ‘simple’ at National 3 and ‘basic’ at National 4. Knowledge and understanding at National 5 should be more advanced than simple general knowledge. It should be more than just widely known general knowledge.
At National 5 there is an expectation that knowledge and understanding will be more than a statement of facts. It will be a statement of facts with some explanation.
For example, a simple statement of fact might be
‘Christians believe Jesus is important because he died for our sins’.
Whereas at National 5, a bit more explanation is needed,
‘Christians believe Jesus
is important because he is the Son of God and through his death and resurrection, they believe that our sins can be forgiven by God’.
This means you need to expand on your points to gain full KU marks at National 5.
The level of analysis expected at National 5 is described as ‘straightforward’.
Analysis usually involves the following:
explaining the background
interpreting sources and viewpoints
Analysis at National 5 should be more advanced than making a simple comment. It should be the kind of information that requires most candidates to learn it rather than simply being a case of widely known connection, consequence, interpretation etc. At National 5 there is an expectation that analysis will show that candidates have a sound grasp of how and why certain things have, for example, particular consequences.
A simple analysis might be
‘some religious people disagree with the death penalty because it means a person is getting killed’.
However, at National 5, a bit more explanation is needed, e.g.
‘some religious people disagree with the death penalty because it breaks their religion’s command not to kill because life is a gift from God and only God decides when a person dies’.
Evaluation occurs when candidates discuss the quality of positions taken on an issue. The skill of evaluation is shown when candidates discuss the quality of any positions taken.
making a supported judgement on an issue
making a supported judgement of responses to an issue
making a supported measurement of the effects, impact, or significance of an issue
presenting a case for or against a position
commenting on the quality of positions taken on an issue
Lynne thinks oranges are the best fruit because they are not too sweet, but at the same time not too sour. Elaine disagrees. She says that oranges are a terrible fruit because they are too sour.
This is not evaluation. This is simply a statement that two people have a different view on the sweetness of oranges.
Example of good evaluation:
Lynne thinks oranges are the best fruit because they are neither too sweet nor too sour. A problem with Lynne’s view is that it is down to her opinion. Her idea of sweetness is probably different from Elaine’s idea of sweetness, so her view of oranges cannot be taken as absolute fact. Furthermore, Lynne has not offered any convincing evidence that no other fruits are better than oranges. Even then, a fruit’s goodness might not be based on how sweet or sour it is. The criticism that can be made of Elaine’s view of oranges is similar. There is no universal measure of sweetness and sourness. She cannot say that they are too sour because she is not comparing them with anything. Also, she simply says that they are not the best fruit and fails to offer any alternatives. In the absence of alternatives, people might be led to believe that Lynne’s view is correct.
This is evaluation. Notice that a judgement is being made on the validity of both Lynne’s
and Elaine’s view of whether oranges are the best fruit.
In the context of the course, it would look like this.
Lynne thinks that there is no God because there is not enough evidence. She says that
nobody has ever seen God; people who believe in God want to believe in him and they use faith to support their beliefs rather than factual, observable evidence. Elaine disagrees. She says that there is a God because the evidence is there if you look for it. She argues that God cannot be proved by experiments and observing. Instead, she says that you need to piece the evidence together and when you see that it joins up you can say that God exists.
This is not evaluation. Here, Lynne’s view is followed by Elaine’s view. In both cases, the reasons for taking the view have been explained but there is no judgement made on the quality of the evidence that supports the views. Therefore there is no evaluation.
For this to change into evaluation, the following has to happen:
Lynne thinks that there is no God because there is not enough evidence. The first question you would have about this reason is ‘What amount of evidence would she require to prove that there is a God?’ If ‘enough’ evidence is actually seeing God walk in front of her then she will be disappointed because that is not how evidence supporting God works. She says that nobody has ever seen God. However, in claiming that nobody has ever seen God Lynne is making the assumption that ‘seeing is believing’. There are many things that we believe exist by looking at their effects rather than physically seeing them, eg we cannot see atoms but we know they exist by their effects. People who believe in God want to believe in him and use faith to support their beliefs and not factual and observable evidence. There is evidence to support this view. Religious people have a certain world view and they want God to fit into that world view. You can see that with those who think God is all-loving and good, yet there is a world which is full of bad things. They want God to fit into this so they develop ideas of freewill and theodicies to make up for the perceived weaknesses in their beliefs.
This is evaluation because it is making a judgement on the quality of the argument and the evidence for it.
Evaluation can include:
strengths and weaknesses
benefits and drawbacks
relevance and irrelevance
advantages and disadvantages
realistic and unrealistic
helpful and unhelpful
Evaluation in World Religion
Evaluation in this context focuses on three areas:
Rather than simply having a list of benefits and drawbacks, they could be grouped into
themes which may lead to more effective evaluation.
Candidates could look at the impact of beliefs and practices on individuals in terms of the psychological effect, the impact on their lifestyle, on how they see the world and how they behave.
When evaluating importance; candidates could consider the importance of a belief or practice in relation to an individual, the community, and other beliefs and practices.
The same approach could be used with relevance – Relevance to individual, communities, practices and today.
Evaluation in Morality and Belief
A similar method can be used with Morality and Belief (see table below).
- Candidates could consider support and criticism for viewpoints based on the importance of consequences in making moral decisions about the rightness or wrongness of an act.
- They could consider the importance of duty and human rights and whether they should have an impact on judging the quality of a decision.
- They could also consider whether there is any hard and fast rule for
moral decision-making on their issue, or if they should make a decision based on the view of religious or non-religious authority.
Religious and philosophical questions context
A similar method can be used with religious and philosophical questions topics Candidates could consider whether or not it is realistic to expect an answer to the questions raised by their topic.
They could evaluate the basis of the argument (which will probably be around the use of observable evidence, reason and faith), consider the problems with each of these and apply it to their topic.
They could then evaluate the consistency of the viewpoint, making a judgement on how well the whole response fits together and the extent of the contradictions within it, before looking at the effectiveness of the methods of proving the truth of a claim.
Finally, they could consider whether there are more likely answers.
It may be helpful to learn some sentence starters to help you know when to evaluate, analyse and give knowledge points. You can find them starting on page 30 of the Course Specification.