A Glossary of Key Words
This glossary contains key words that appear frequently in Board of Studies syllabuses, performance descriptions and examinations.
The purpose behind the glossary is to help students prepare better for the HSC by showing them that certain key words are used similarly in examination questions across the different subjects they are studying.
In classrooms, teachers of different subjects could use the glossary to help students to better understand what the examination questions in their subject require. Students should recognise the consistent approach of teachers of different subjects and get cues about how to approach examination questions.
For example, students would be better placed to respond to 'explain' questions if, in the context of different subjects, they developed an understanding that 'explain' could require them to relate cause and effect; make the relationships between things evident; provide why and/or how.
It is also important that the key words should not be interpreted in an overly prescriptive way. Teachers must ensure that they do not use them in ways that conflict with their particular meaning within subjects. To do this would be counterproductive. A term like 'evaluate', for example, requires a different kind of response in Mathematics from that required in History and this needs to be respected.
When using key words to construct questions, tasks and marking schemes, it is helpful to ask what the use of the term in a particular question requires students to do.
Key words are best discussed with students in the context of questions and tasks they are working on, rather than in isolation.
It is important to note that examination questions for the HSC will continue to use self-explanatory terms such as 'how', or 'why' or 'to what extent'. While key words have a purpose, they will not set limits on legitimate subject-based questions in examination papers.
- Account for: state reasons for, report on. Give an account of: narrate a series of events or transactions
- Identify components and the relationship between them; draw out and relate implications
- Use, utilise, employ in a particular situation
- Make a judgement about the value of
- Make a judgement of value, quality, outcomes, results or size
- Ascertain/determine from given facts, figures or information
- Make clear or plain
- Arrange or include in classes/categories
- Show how things are similar or different
- Make; build; put together items or arguments
- Show how things are different or opposite
- Critically (analyse/evaluate)
- Add a degree or level of accuracy depth, knowledge and understanding, logic, questioning, reflection and quality to (analyse/evaluate)
- Draw conclusions
- State meaning and identify essential qualities
- Show by example
- Provide characteristics and features
- Identify issues and provide points for and/or against
- Recognise or note/indicate as being distinct or different from; to note differences between
- Make a judgement based on criteria; determine the value of
- Inquire into
- Relate cause and effect; make the relationships between things evident; provide why and/or how
- Choose relevant and/or appropriate details
- Infer from what is known
- Recognise and name
- Draw meaning from
- Plan, inquire into and draw conclusions about
- Support an argument or conclusion
- Sketch in general terms; indicate the main features of
- Suggest what may happen based on available information
- Put forward (for example a point of view, idea, argument, suggestion) for consideration or action
- Present remembered ideas, facts or experiences
- Provide reasons in favour
- Retell a series of events
- Express, concisely, the relevant details
- Putting together various elements to make a whole