How to address Paper 2


Students need to practise writing responses to articles using the following advice.
Most importantly teachers need to emphasise the need for a structured response to Criteria C and D.

Criterion A

  • Marked as two parts, 2 marks each. The second part of A is a separate question i.e. the question only asks for a stakeholder and relationship to the system, it does not need to be linked to the concern described in the first part.
  • If the concern is identified correctly, but wrongly described: 1 mark for that part.
  • If the relationship is identified correctly, but not described: 1 mark for that part.
  • ‘Describe’ means to give details of the concern/relationship.

Criterion B

  • The focus of this criterion is technical IT knowledge and its linkage to ITGS issues.
  • A step-by-step description of the processing that is beyond the details in the article gains entry into the 3-4 markband.
  • The description beyond the article must include software/hardware/processes not mentioned in the article; the basic input and output is mentioned in the article.
  • For the second part the concern must be the one described in the first part of Criterion A.
  • The answer must explain the link between the IT system and the concern – how one can lead to the other
  • Students may not go beyond the article within the list of steps but extra details about the IT system may be used to explain the relationship between the IT system and the concern. This is considered when awarding marks using the ‘Best Fit’ approach.

Criterion C

  • The focus of this criterion is the impact of the IT system on the stakeholders, and an evaluation of the range, type and extent of the impact
  • A structured answer is usually required for the top markband.
  • Descriptions of a range of impacts only does NOT gain entry to the 3-5 markband.
  • Implicit response - the response is just a general one and it could be based on any article; or there is a reference to the article without any description or explanation.
  • Explicit response - the response is clearly linked to the article, it may not mention the scenario by name, but it is clear that this is the subject of discussion. Line numbers and/or direct quotes are not necessary.
  • Partial analysis and evaluation can be comments about individual impacts and gains entry to the 3-5 markband – see the list of ‘trigger’ words on the next page.
  • Full analysis requires consideration of both positive and negative impacts for more than one stakeholder
  • Full evaluation needs a conclusion/opinion/judgement about the overall impacts justified based on a comparison of the impacts.
  • Using the ‘trigger’ words for evaluation without a justification does not receive marks.
  • Depth is more important than breadth
  • Students may indicate that a problem can be easily solved as part of their evaluation. No marks for a detailed description/evaluation of the solution as this should come under Criterion D.
  • If a student has structured the response into advantages/disadvantages for the various stakeholders then this is also the beginnings of analysis and gains entry to the 3-5 markband.
  • For full marks there needs to be a final summative paragraph that demonstrates evaluation. There needs to be a judgement based on the points raised. This is not just a summary.

Criterion D

  • The focus of this criterion is the solution and an evaluation of its effectiveness in solving the problem/s.
  • A structured answer is usually required for the top markband.
  • The link to one of the problems described in criterion C may be implied.
  • ONLY the FIRST appropriate solution (it may only be identified) is marked and further solutions are ignored.
  • A solution may have more than one idea, but the parts must be related and solve one problem. For example: the solution is a policy to protect a database and it includes the use of a firewall, VPN and secure physical location.
  • Although it is recommended that students provide a solution that will modify the current system and solve its problems, a valid solution is one which replaces the system
  • Students may identify a solution and not fully describe how it will work, but then go on to evaluate it. In this situation ‘Best Fit’ is applied.
    • Full evaluation (markband 6-8) requires an evaluation of both strengths and weaknesses
    • A solution partly described but evaluated would warrant Best Fit marking
    • For full marks a final summative paragraph that demonstrates evaluation would be expected. There needs to be a judgement based on the strengths and weaknesses raised. This is not just a summary.

Best Fit

Best-fit is designed to enable examiners to measure the performance of a candidate against all of the different requirements of a markband. Using best-fit the examiner reads the candidate’s response and determines which of the levels within the markband is most appropriate. This does not mean that the candidate has to reach every statement within that level. Sometimes a response does not fully satisfy one level but has strong elements of the higher level. For example in Paper 2 the impact in Criterion C may not be fully described, but it has been clearly evaluated. In this case it may be appropriate to award a mark at the lower end of the 3-5 markband. Using best-fit prevents one particular weakness in the response denying access to the appropriate level.

Critical Thinking

These trigger words often signal critical thinking. The bold words are the key terms in the various criteria.

Explanation - Because, as a result of, due to, therefore, consequently, for example

Analysis - Furthermore, additionally, however, but, conversely, likewise, in addition, on the other hand, whereas

Evaluation - My opinion, overall, although, despite, on balance, on weighing up


When supporting an opinion/judgement/final evaluation it is not enough to say 'the positives outweigh the negatives'. They need to be supported by evidence. Students may compare the different impacts and apportion priority with reasons. They may focus on questions such as: How many people are affected? Are some stakeholders affected more than others eg teenagers? Are impacts only local or also global? Are the impacts short term or long term? Can the problems be easily solved? Can an impact be lessened/diminished with a solution, for example, if the issue of reliability can be resolved how does this affect the impact?

Note that opinions may not only occur at the end of the writing but can be found throughout the response; but are best at the end of the criterion.

What is the difference between 1a) and 2b)?

A1. (a) Describe one social/ethical concern related to the IT system in the article.

E.g. privacy of sensitive data – if privacy is breached then an unauthorised person may be able to access someone’s personal details and ……………………….

The main focus is on the details of the concern – the problem that would be created with the particular IT system in the article.

B2. (b) Explain the relationship between the IT system and the social/ethical concern described in Criterion A.

E.g. Privacy (the concern from Criterion A) would be breached if an unauthorised person gains access to the IT system through lack of security in the following way ……………………

The main focus is on the part of the IT system that is linked to the concern.

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