hsc ancient history extended response

You’re told to strive for a Band 6 in your HSC Ancient History extended response, but what exactly goes into a Band 6 response?

And what’s the difference between a Band 4 or a Band 5 or a Band 6? What criteria needs to be met to place you into the highest Band?

Don’t sweat! This article will be an in-depth examination into an HSC Ancient History question, and will provide you with sample HSC Ancient History extended responses for Bands 4, 5 and 6 so you know exactly what needs to be done to achieve a Band 6 response!

To help you understand what goes into a Band 6 response, we will be looking at the 2013 HSC Ancient History question:

With reference to the information and ideas represented in Sources F, G and H, and your own knowledge, explain how new research and technologies since the 1980s have changed earlier interpretations of human remains from Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Let’s look at excerpts of Band 4, 5 and 6 HSC Ancient History extended responses for the above question and highlight the positives and negatives of each!

Example 1: Band 6 Extended Response
Example 2: Band 5 Extended Response
Example 3: Band 4 Extended Response
Key Differences Between These Extended Responses

Example 1: Band 6 Extended Response

Marking Criteria:
Band 6 Response Provides an informed and comprehensive explanation of how new research and technologies have changed earlier interpretations of human remains

Integrates ideas from Sources provided and own knowledge relating to both Pompeii and Herculaneum

Provides a detailed, structured response using a range of appropriate historical terms and concepts

hsc ancient history extended response

This response would be given a mark of  9/10 or 10/10 – and here’s why:

1. Given source reference: Incorporates Source F into the response in a relevant manner, which is one of requirements of a Band 6 response

 

2. Specificity: Mentions a specific piece of evidence in the form of archaeological research, and highlights how it has affected our current understanding

 

3. Analysis of specific evidence: Elaborates further on the archaeological evidence given (Estelle Lazer’s research) by mentioning a specific find that encapsulates why the evidence is useful

 

4. Source reference: Again, specific name-dropping of modern historians and archaeologists is mandatory if you want a Band 6 – this one mentions Fiorelli as well as his actual research

 

5. Relevant complimentary source: More evidence to support this new idea (technological advancements), this time regarding Herculaneum (it’s important for a Band 6 response to mention information about BOTH Pompeii and Herculaneum)

 

6. Analysis of specific evidence: Similar to number 3, this section elaborates further on the evidence presented by giving specific details like health, birth rate, age and diet, which is very useful information

 

7. Given source reference: Incorporates Source G into the response in a relevant manner, which is one of requirements of a Band 6 response

 

8. Given source reference: Incorporates Source H into the response in a relevant manner, which is one of requirements of a Band 6 response

Example 2: Band 5 Extended Response

Marking Criteria:
Band 5 Response Provides an informed explanation of how new research and technologies have changed earlier interpretations of human remains

Uses ideas from Sources provided and own knowledge relating to Pompeii and Herculaneum

Provides a structured response using appropriate historical terms and concepts

 hsc ancient history extended response

This response would be given a mark of 7/10 or 8/10 – here’s why:

1. Given source reference: Incorporates Source F into the response in a relevant manner, which is one of requirements of a Band 6 response

 

2. Specificity: Mentions a specific piece of evidence in the form of archaeological research, and highlights how it has affected our current understanding

 

3. Analysis of specific evidence: While this information is useful, it neglects to mention any specific findings such as the Lady of Oplontis. This alone won’t drop you to a Band 5, but the more specific evidence you can give, the better.

 

4. Interdisciplinary reference: Mentions specific technological advancements that have affected our current understanding

 

5. Source reference: Specific name-dropping of modern historians and archaeologists is mandatory if you want a Band 6 – this one mentions Fiorelli as well as his actual research.

 

6. Relevant complimentary source: More evidence to support this new idea (technological advancements), this time regarding Herculaneum (it’s important to mention information about BOTH Pompeii and Herculaneum)

 

7. Lack of analysis: ‘Vital information’ is highlighted because the response doesn’t actually explain what that ‘vital information’ is. It’s good to mention that something has had an impact, but it’s better to provide specific examples, such as ‘birth rate, age and diet’ for this part in particular

 

8. Given source reference: Incorporates Source G into the response in a relevant manner, which is one of requirements of a Band 6 response

 

9. Given source reference: Incorporates Source H into the response in a relevant manner, which is one of requirements of a Band 6 response

Example 3: Band 4 Extended Response

Marking Criteria:
Band 4 Response Provides relevant information about new research and technologies and/or how they have changed earlier interpretations of human remains

Uses ideas from Sources provided and own knowledge relating to Pompeii and/or Herculaneum

Provides a response using some appropriate historical terms and concepts

 hsc ancient history extended response

This response would be given a mark of 5/10 or 6/10 – here’s why:

1. Specificity: Mentions specific technological advancements that have affected our current understanding

 

2. Source reference: Mentioning modern historians and archaeologists is essential for a well-written response – this one mentions Fiorelli as well as his actual research

3. Relevant complimentary source: More evidence to support this new idea (technological advancements), this time regarding Herculaneum (it’s important to mention information about BOTH Pompeii and Herculaneum)

 

4. Lack of analysis: ‘Vital information’ is highlighted because the response doesn’t actually explain what that ‘vital information’ is; it’s good to mention that something has had an impact, but it’s better to provide specific examples, such as ‘birth rate, age and diet’ for this part in particular

 

5. Given source reference: Incorporates Source G into the response in a relevant manner, which is one of requirements of a Band 6 response

 

6. Given source reference: Incorporates Source H into the response in a relevant manner, which is one of requirements of a Band 6 response. Although, this could have been discussed with more detail than a single sentence to ensure you’re mentioning all the important information in the Source, rather than just listing it in passing

 

7. Structure, Syntax, Format: While this information is useful, it is repetitive. Paragraph 1 already mentioned new technologies, so by returning to it in the third paragraph indicates that this response was rushed and lacked a proper structure, and the student was probably regurgitating information that they had already mentioned in the hopes of getting more marks.

 

If possible, try to mention new information in every sentence or paragraph, rather than rehashing old ideas. Also make sure you have a well-planned structure before you begin writing your response, otherwise it could result in a poorly structured response like this.

 

8. Lack of analysis: Similar to 4, just stating ‘revealed new information’ is pointless unless you’re actually mentioning what that new information is. Ensure you mention lots of specific pieces of evidence, rather than making blanket statements like this that contribute little to the argument.

Key Differences Between Bands 4, 5 and 6

There are three main areas of difference between the Band 4, 5, and 6 responses: information, sources, and structure.

Area #1: Information

Band 6:

Responses will provide an informed and comprehensive explanation!

Informed = a strong understanding of the topic/question

Comprehensive = a well-rounded understanding of the topic/question, including a variety of information that covers most of the vital points

Band 5:

Responses will provide an informed explanation

Informed = a strong understanding of the topic/question

Band 4:

Responses will provide relevant information

Relevant = information relating to the topic/question, but not enough information to satisfy the markers e.g. important ideas/people/dates

Area #2: Sources

Band 6:

Responses will integrate Sources and own knowledge relating to both Pompeii and Herculaneum!

Integrate = incorporate evidence throughout the entire response, using sources and own knowledge to support your argument

Both Pompeii and Herculaneum = provides information relating to both cities, rather than just one

Band 5:

Responses will use Sources and own knowledge relating to both Pompeii and Herculaneum

Use = uses evidence sporadically throughout the response, using sources and own knowledge to support some aspects of your argument

Both Pompeii and Herculaneum = provides information relating to both cities, rather than just one

Band 4:

Responses will use Sources and own knowledge relating to Pompeii and/or Herculaneum

Use = uses evidence sporadically throughout the response, using sources and own knowledge to support some aspects of your argument

Pompeii and/or Herculaneum = provides information relating to one of the cities, neglecting information from the other

Area #3: Structure

Band 6:

Responses will provide a detailed, structured response using a range of appropriate historical terms and concepts!

Detailed = information explored in-depth, rather than brushed over

Structured = a clear, coherent structure where each point follows logically to the next, rather than jumping from random idea to random idea

Range of appropriate = a wide variety of sources that are relevant to the question

Band 5:

Responses will provide a structured response using appropriate historical terms and concepts

Structured = a clear, coherent structure where each point follows logically to the next, rather than jumping from random idea to random idea

Appropriate = use of sources that are relevant to the question, but may only use a few sources rather than a wide variety

Band 4:

Responses will provide a response using some appropriate historical terms and concepts

Response = a response that is not very detailed or structured, does not explore information in depth and information seems to jump from random idea to random idea

Some appropriate = use of some sources that are relevant to the question, but may only use a few sources rather than a wide variety

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Jack Theodoulou studies a double degree of Education/Arts majoring in English at the University of Sydney. Previously an instructor of classical guitar, Jack began coaching at Art of Smart in 2015. In his spare time, Jack often finds himself entangled in a love-hate relationship with creative writing and an occasional obsession with video games.