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2009 HSC Notes from the Marking Centre – Automotive



This document has been produced for the teachers and candidates of the Stage 6 course in Automotive. It contains comments on candidate responses to the 2009 Higher School Certificate examination, indicating the quality of the responses and highlighting their relative strengths and weaknesses.

This document should be read along with the relevant syllabus, the 2009 Higher School Certificate examination, the marking guidelines and other support documents which have been developed by the Board of Studies to assist in the teaching and learning of Automotive.

Teachers and students are advised that, in December 2008, the Board of Studies approved changes to the examination specifications and assessment requirements for a number of courses. These changes will be implemented for the 2010 HSC cohort. Information on a course-by-course basis is available on the Board’s website.

General Comments

Teachers and candidates should be aware that examiners may ask questions that address the syllabus outcomes in a manner that requires candidates to respond by integrating the knowledge, understanding and skills they developed through studying the course.

Candidates need to be aware that the marks allocated to the question and the answer space (where this is provided on the examination paper), are a guide to the length of the required response. A longer response will not in itself lead to higher marks. Writing far beyond the indicated space may reduce the time available for answering other questions.

Candidates need to be familiar with the Board’s Glossary of Key Words which contains some terms commonly used in examination questions. However, candidates should also be aware that not all questions will start with or contain one of the key words from the glossary. Questions such as ‘how?’, ‘why?’ or ‘to what extent?’ may be asked or verbs may be used which are not ‘design’, ‘translate’ or ‘list’.

Section II

Question 16

  1. Many candidates responded accurately to this question and were able to name three ways in which a chemical or hazardous product can enter the human body. Better responses went on to clearly explain how correct PPE could be used as a barrier to ingestion, inhalation or absorption. Weaker responses tended to move away from PPE by discussing management strategies that could be used.

Question 17

  1. Better responses listed four important pieces of information obtained from the vehicle that would be required by a parts supplier. Make, VIN, model and build date were most common. More often, candidates managed only three correct responses.
  2. Most candidates correctly responded with one question to ask of the part supplier, such as, ‘Is the part available?’ or ‘When will it be delivered?’. Few candidates generated two appropriate questions.

Question 18

  1. There were some excellent and detailed responses to this question. Poorer responses simply did not know the name of the parts, or used non-technical language to describe the part. Candidates are reminded that the language of automotive technology needs to be used rather than common or colloquial names for parts. Descriptions tended to be brief, but, in the main, accurate. Again, candidates are reminded that their knowledge needs to be that of the industry rather than of a layperson.
  2. Good responses to this question correctly focused upon the charging system of the vehicle and selected possible faults and appropriate tests related to that system. Weaker responses referred to other parts of the vehicle or gave other possible reasons for the battery being flat, such as the lights being left on.

Question 19

  1. Better responses showed an understanding of the concept of the earth lead being connected to the body of the vehicle, and that removing it first prevents a potential short circuit. Many understood the inherent danger in a live lead randomly connecting to the body of the vehicle.
  2. Some responses correctly described the term CCA as cold cranking amps and explained that this was the current available from the battery at a cold start situation. Simply expanding the acronym was sufficient for candidates to be awarded a mark.
  3. The range of responses to this question indicated a high level of understanding and recognition by candidates. The fusible link, switch and earth were easily recognised. Better responses clearly described the function of each of these, but poorer responses could not express the functions in technical language.
  4. Better responses correctly ‘series-wired’ the two batteries to produce 24 volts. Poorer responses suggested configurations resulting in 12 volts.
  5. Better responses correctly wired the batteries in parallel to gain the required 12 volts.

Question 20

  1. Better responses in this question fully understood the role of WorkCover NSW in relation to the automotive industry. Generally candidates responded accurately that the WorkCover organisation administers and enforces the OHS Act and the codes of practice within the Act. They also demonstrated knowledge of the roles of injury management and workers’ compensation legislation, signage, manual handling and work environments. Poorer responses misunderstood WorkCover’s role and focused only on its punitive measures.

Question 21

  1. Better responses to this question identified, named and described the primary role of one industry body. Typically these included the Motor Trades Association of Australia, the Motor Traders’ Association of NSW, the Institute of Automotive Mechanical Engineers, the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union, Automotive Training Australia and others. Poorer responses did not identify organisations by name but gave only their acronyms (MTA, NRMA, AWU etc), and typically provided inaccurate characteristics and features of the role of the organisation, or else described secondary and tertiary roles for the body rather than the primary role. Better responses accurately related the characteristics and features of the industry body that they named and generally drew upon syllabus knowledge.

Section III

Overall, better quality responses were cohesive and specifically targeted the question’s requirements.

Question 22

Three sectors of the automotive industry were well described by most candidates. Better responses described the services offered by that sector, and many candidates also described subsectors. Diagrammatic models were presented that adequately described the relationship between sectors. Candidates were required to name sectors rather than subsectors only and needed to describe both their roles and their services, in addition to the relationship between the services, to gain the highest rewards. Poorer responses omitted the interrelationships and/or did not describe roles and services. Very poor responses did not adequately name three sectors. Candidates and teachers are reminded of the definitions of the sectors of the industry provided in the syllabus.

Question 23

Better responses identified five separate and distinct hazardous materials used in an automotive workshop. Poorer responses tended to identify hazards rather than hazardous materials. They also duplicated responses with general terms rather than specifics, eg ‘chemicals’ rather than ‘solvents’ or ‘paints’. Better responses referred to PPE and management strategies that work towards the safe handling and minimisation of risk of the hazardous materials, referring to storage, paper trails, management, disposal and recycling. The best responses demonstrated knowledge of current environmental regulations and understood that local, state and federal government regulations have a role here. WorkCover was also mentioned by many candidates as having a role in helping organisations manage their workplace. Better responses identified five specific hazardous materials, such as oils, solvents, adhesives, glass, metals, heavy metals, asbestos, refrigerants, rubbers or acids. These responses went on to describe storage and handling, disposal or recycling, the potential impact on stormwater quality and the role of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) within the Department of the Environment, Climate Change and Water. They understood the penalties that could be applied. Poorer responses did not name any chemicals, or did not clearly identify the hazardous material.

Question 24

Better responses included the full range of written, verbal and nonverbal communications. They also evaluated the importance of each of these in completing workshop tasks. Many candidates drew upon workplace experiences for this question. These candidates understood that graphic communication has its place for safety or for technical knowledge and accuracy. They also evaluated the importance of the communication by describing the consequences of poor communication. Poorer responses referred only to signage and tended to focus upon safety aspects, and did not evaluate the importance of the quality and accuracy of communication in the workshop environment. Some better responses covered a range of types of communication but did not relate the importance of this to situations in the workshop.


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