"Having relevant theory that covers ALL aspects of the exam is something that would be useful-and not something that is reserved for costly INSETs. What didn't help last year was (in my opinion) a satisfactory answer to some aspects of media theory on this forum for the exam. (The thread was closed). As HoD, I am seriously considering the future with OCR A-Level Media Studies."
Two things here
1. Though there is plenty of relevant material on 'theory' in the A2 textbook, our view of this for the spec is that we did not want it to go down the route of rote learning so have deliberately left it more open. To have hundreds of answers all trotting out the same 'line' does not represent good learning, so we have a much more open view of what candidates might refer to than perhaps teachers think we have! The main problem in the exam responses was the total absence of reference to theory in candidate essays (particularly q.1b), despite it having been taught in many cases (as evidenced by material on centre websites and anecdotes from teachers I have spoken to). So the challenge is how to teach it in a way that students will then be able to use it. So i'd stress, there is not a fixed body of theorists that they have to reference.
2. On costly INSET. I would hope that people feel they get value for money from the INSET we provide- I certainly always try to give it; I would argue that it is part of the continuing professional development for teachers that they take advantage of such sessions and that schools and colleges, even in these cash strapped times do have money available for it in their budgets. In addition, we do go to great lengths to try to provide the maximum amount of options for getting people better informed- autumn traditional day events, the conference in March, the e-community, the Get Ahead blog, Julian's twitter feed, the media magazine blog...
and from Julian McDougall: "Regarding stretch and challenge, I would just restate my 'mantra' on this which is that the majority of A2 Media with OCR is either coursework or related to coursework. For an A2, the only 'pure theory' work a student has to engage with is a one hour exam answer, so I think a comparison with other subjects / boards would be unlikely to lead to the conclusion that OCR are asking for more academic / theoretical endeavour. Please refer to the examiner's report and look at the exemplar scripts and commentaries when they are made available as these have been produced to demonstrate a variety of ways of getting to particular mark bands. The most important quality a candidate needs to demonstrate for Section B is making connections between ideas. That said, the weakest area was question 1b where candidates often struggled to 'apply' arguably more basic genre theory to their own work.”