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2009 HSC Notes from the Marking Centre – Personal Development, Health and Physical Education



This document has been produced for the teachers and candidates of the Stage 6 course in Personal Development, Health and Physical Education. 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 Personal Development, Health and Physical Education.

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 mark 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 included in the glossary, such as ‘design’, ‘translate’ or ‘list’.

Section I – Core

Part B

Question 21 – Health priorities in Australia

  1. Better responses clearly described how reorienting health services (RHS) can improve the health of Australians. These responses referred to a characteristic and/or feature of RHS such as increased access to health information or services, a shift from treatment to prevention and increasing health services based on need. These responses then showed how the characteristic and/or feature of RHS was used to improve health and provided a relevant example.

    Mid-range responses provided an outline of how RHS can improve the health of Australians and included an example. These responses provided a general understanding of RHS rather than specifically linking a characteristic and/or feature of RHS to improving the health of Australians.

    Weaker responses identified some relevant information about RHS or the health of Australians but did not make clear links between them.

  2. Better responses demonstrated a thorough understanding of the health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) people compared to the broader Australian population. They provided accurate and specific comparisons between the epidemiological data, national health priority area trends and/or social determinants both for ATSI and non-ATSI people, addressing these areas in detail or in combination. Better responses presented their ideas in a clear and logical manner, supported by a range of comparisons and examples.

    Mid-range responses showed a general understanding of the health status of ATSI people and/or the health of the broader Australian population. Responses described the health status of the two groups rather than making clear comparisons between them. A range of characteristics and features of health status and relevant examples were provided.

    Weaker responses identified some information about the health status experienced by ATSI people but did not use examples.

  3. Better responses demonstrated a thorough understanding of the New Public Health approach (NPHA) and the ability to judge its effectiveness in addressing one of Australia’s health priority areas (HPA). Responses included strong discussion of one or more of the following characteristics of the NPHA: empowering individuals, community participation, recognition of social determinants, and the changing role of health professionals. Responses also included judgements based on the outcomes, results, quality and value of NPHA approaches and linked them to relevant examples of NPHA initiatives. For example, when addressing the characteristic of empowering the individual with regard to cancer, responses discussed how education programs on skin cancer were being implemented, using examples such as the ‘there is no such thing as a healthy tan’ campaign. Candidates showed how this would empower the individual to make better decisions about their health, and then proceeded to make predictions about the impact of this on skin cancer statistics in the future.

    Mid-range responses showed an understanding of the NPHA by describing one or more characteristic of the NPHA. Typically, these responses did not make a clear judgement about the effectiveness of the NPHA in addressing a HPA. Responses included a range of relevant examples. They also detailed specific areas of the NPHA such as the Ottawa Charter, and made judgement(s) about the effectiveness of the NPHA in addressing a HPA.

    Weaker responses identified and/or outlined some information about the NPHA, HPAs and health promotion initiatives. These responses did not address the characteristics of the NPHA or make judgements. Some examples of health promotion initiatives may have been used.

Question 22 – Factors affecting performance

  1. High-range responses made clear all or most of the features of each energy system in the question. Typical responses indicated a clear understanding of the systems in a concise format. For example, ‘Duration of Aerobic system – indefinite at moderate intensity, <70% MHR.’

    Mid-range responses tended to correctly identify one system and some features of the other.

    Weaker responses identified most features of one system or some features of both.

  2. High-range responses included a wide variety of practice methods and feedback that could be used at each stage of skill acquisition. Better responses generally identified the stage of skill acquisition by briefly describing the characteristics of the athlete at this stage, then linked the appropriate practice methods and feedback and highlighted their benefits for this learner.

    Other high-range responses addressed the question by looking at the types of practice methods and recommending the stage or stages at which each type would best be used, and why. The responses then used the same process for the various types of feedback.

    Mid-range responses attempted to create a link between the various forms of feedback, practice methods and the stages of skill acquisition. Some sporting examples may have been used but they failed to link back to the question. These responses provided very good descriptions of each stage of skill acquisition and identified what type of feedback and practice methods were needed at each stage, but failed to justify their importance. The examples provided were not clearly supportive.

    Low-range responses reflected a limited knowledge of the stages of skill acquisition, practice methods or types of feedback, and only identified or outlined each part of the question. Responses lacked detail, examples and terminology, and did not attempt to evaluate the benefit of practice methods and feedback.

Section II

Question 23 – The health of young people

  1. High-range responses included details of the patterns of young people’s morbidity and mortality, used relevant examples such as ‘young people have increased rates of traffic accidents resulting in death and injury’ and ‘the main cause of the hospitalisations is through increased injury and substance abuse’, as well as including patterns of young people’s health in respect to gender and compared to those of older population groups.

    Lower-range responses did not identify relevant information about young people’s morbidity and mortality patterns.

  2. The higher-range responses showed clearly and logically how and why supportive networks can help young people to achieve better health. Better responses used examples such as ‘Barriers such as language may prevent young people from accessing support services such as Kids Helpline, which enables young people to discuss substance abuse issues confidentially’.

    Mid-range responses identified an area of concern and a supportive network, and sketched in general terms how it could help young people to achieve better health.

    Lower-range responses provided some information about supportive networks in general, but did not link these to an area of concern.

  3. The higher-range responses analysed the implications of social factors that were an impact on the health of young people, presenting ideas in a clear and logical way and using relevant examples. Better responses used examples such as ‘there is greater emphasis on educating young people … thus improving young people’s understanding of health reducing lifestyle behaviour such as smoking’ and ‘individuals that are made to feel lonely due to geographical isolation have a greater risk of committing suicide or developing mental health issues’.

    Mid-range responses provided characteristics of social factors and how they have an impact on the health of young people, but were not set out as clearly and logically as the higher-range responses, and lacked relevant examples.

    Lower-range responses provided some information about social factors that impact on the health of young people, but offered no relevant examples.

Question 24 – Sport and physical activity in Australian society

  1. Better responses related the economic implications of direct and indirect costs, including the construction of stadiums and improvements to infrastructure such as public transport. Indirect results were seen to be increases in jobs and money generated by tourism. Better responses also made mention of the legacy of hosting the Olympic Games as being state-of-the-art facilities, with the added possible challenge of ensuring viable use for these venues after the games had finished. Some responses referred to the debt incurred by the Montreal Olympics leading to corporate sponsorship of the Olympics by 1984.

    Mid-range responses sketched the consequences of the Olympics in general terms and gave some relevant examples, listing facilities built for the Olympics without identifying the economic implications.

    Lower-range responses didn’t link hosting the Olympic Games with the economic implications, but gave some relevant examples such as building pools, having enough food available, or having merchandise for sale.

  2. The higher-range responses successfully linked essential survival skills of hunting and gathering to the replication and teaching of these skills through games. Links were drawn to the land and the sense of community that occurred when ceremonial dances took place and the transfer of knowledge from elders to the young. These responses also identified the incidental nature of physical activity through walking and tracking animals over great distances. Games described included ‘murri murri’ and ‘bubberah’ with explanation of how these activities fitted into the learning of survival skills.

    Mid-range responses referred to the need to survive and hunt, and sketched some common activities in general terms. These answers lacked the clarity of the better responses.

    Lower-range responses identified some relevant information such as ‘having to walk long distances to hunt and gather’ but didn’t expand on this or explain the link to the need to transfer knowledge to children.

  3. The higher-range responses related the symbolic relationship between sport and the mass media. Many responses critically analysed the popularity and place that sport has in Australian society and accurately linked this to the rise of the influence of television and print media. They also analysed sponsorship and the rise of big business’s interest in linking products to high-profile sports and athletes. Responses linked successful sports to massive publicity and counter-argued that the lower-profile sports lacked media attention. These responses also drew on the issue of how women’s sports such as netball, and smaller-scale extreme sports such as mountain biking, fail to attract corporate backing and funds because of the lack of media attention. Responses also successfully described sports that have changed their structure in order to be more appealing to television audiences. Examples included cricket and basketball. The link was drawn to television ratings and associated revenue for advertisement time during prominent sporting events such as rugby league State of Origin series.

    Mid-range responses provided characteristics and features of the relationship between sport and the mass media. Generalised examples conveying the way sport is represented in both the print media and television, particularly surrounding gender, were provided.

    Lower-range responses sketched in general terms and drew links to sport and mass media. Examples were often repetitive, or listed sport stars and their associated sponsorship deals.

Question 25 – Sports medicine

  1. Higher-range responses concisely detailed the signs, symptoms and management of hard tissue injuries. Pain and tenderness symptoms were differentiated from signs such as deformity and loss of function. Responses described examples such as compound and simple fractures, dislocations and injuries to teeth. They also identified immobilisation and seeking medical attention as the most critical aspects of managing hard tissue injuries. Examples of immobilisation were given, including the use of splints or slings. Many candidates also detailed the management of tooth injuries, using examples such as immersing the tooth in milk, or reinserting it into the gum.

    Mid-range responses identified hard tissue injuries as fractures, dislocations or injuries to teeth. These responses recommended management strategies but tended to be general in nature. Some weaker responses did not mention seeking medical attention, or used TOTAPS strategy for management, despite having identified it as a hard tissue injury.

    Low-range responses either did not identify the main signs or symptoms for hard tissue injuries, or were too general and imprecise. Lists of examples included hard and soft tissue injuries. Some incorrectly included the RICER regime for treating soft tissue injuries as a management strategy for hard tissue injuries.

  2. High-range responses explained in considerable detail the factors an athlete needs to consider before returning to play, and used precise syllabus terminology. Responses identified indicators of readiness relating to pain and mobility. Taping and its benefits were explained. The need for a specific warm-up was emphasised, with examples such as returning to play via a lower grade demonstrating progressive involvement. Most strong responses used examples of pre- and post-testing to explain how a coach or practitioner could monitor the athlete’s progress. Structured responses were presented in a clear and logical way, using examples specific to the ankle.

    Mid-range responses used some syllabus terminology but were more general. Taping and indicators of readiness were the most commonly explained. Many of these responses described what had to be done in order to return to play but did not explain why these steps were important. They frequently included the steps in the rehabilitation process, the TOTAPS survey, or pressure placed on athletes by their coach to return to play quickly. Many of these responses referred to improving aspects of physical preparation, like strength and flexibility, as factors the athlete needed to consider before returning to play.

    Low-range responses provided a general outline of factors relating to return to play. These identified the increased risk of injury associated with a premature return. Some described the importance of mental and psychological readiness for return to play. They did not provide examples specific to the ankle, and were not clear and logical.

  3. High-range responses analysed the role of physical preparation in enhancing the wellbeing of the athlete. These responses demonstrated critical thinking by using high-quality examples to relate the implications of physical preparation to the wellbeing of the athlete.

    The skills of tackling in rugby or landing in basketball were used by many candidates as examples of how good technique can protect the athlete’s wellbeing. Many responses emphasised that flexibility, endurance and strength were critical to an athlete’s wellbeing in all sports. They used sport-specific examples to demonstrate the implications of each, including: the increased risk of fatigue-related injury if adequate endurance is not developed; the need for high levels of flexibility to reduce the likelihood of sprains or tears in sports such as martial arts or gymnastics that require ballistic movements; and the importance of strength to protect the neck and spine when packing into a scrum.

    Better responses analysed the specific requirements of different sports, such as protective equipment or other physical expectations. Furthermore, these responses identified the needs of specific athletes according to age, illness or other characteristics and were able to clearly establish the importance of warming up, stretching and warming down and the implications of not doing so. High-range responses were well structured and presented ideas in a clear and logical way.

    Mid-range responses made the relationship between physical preparation and the wellbeing of the athlete evident. These responses described some of the methods of physical preparation but did not include enough detail to analyse their implications. Candidates used examples to demonstrate how the development of skills or components of fitness such as flexibility, endurance and strength could enhance the wellbeing of athletes by protecting them from injury in sporting situations. Many responses explained the benefits of a warm-up or warm-down, but lacked evidence of critical thinking.

    Low-range responses outlined physical preparation in general terms only. These candidates provided generic examples of how to develop strength or flexibility, but did not make clear what the relationship is between these factors and the wellbeing of the athlete. Many low-range responses included examples and strategies more relevant to part (b) than part (c) of this question.

Question 26 – Improving performance

  1. Better responses clearly outlined the relevant features of both isotonic and isokinetic methods of resistance training and provided examples consisting of movements, equipment, physiology or techniques to support the answer. Typical answers related muscle length changes – in particular ‘eccentric and concentric’ contractions, techniques issues such as ‘sticking points’, constant resistance, development of strength across the range of motion and types of equipment required for both methods of resistance training.

    Mid-range responses identified features of either isokinetic or isotonic training methods or provided definition-type answers without adequate examples in support.

    Weaker responses identified some relevant information to resistance training but did not establish the link with isotonic training. These responses typically confused isometric training or cited poor examples.

  2. Better responses clearly explained the role of the sports psychologist in the preparation of elite athletes and provided a range of relevant techniques that supported their suggested roles. Typical responses identified roles that included management of arousal and anxiety and included techniques such as mental rehearsal, goal-setting and relaxation therapies that were then linked to improved performance. Excellent responses established the link between both the sports psychologist’s role and techniques, and the benefits of each in terms of performance.

    Mid-range responses understood that the sports psychologist played a significant role in elite athlete performance but failed to clearly link the roles with examples of methods or techniques that could be used. Typically, responses included roles of assisting athletes with confidence or relaxation but failed to demonstrate how this may be achieved or why this would be performed.

    Weaker examples identified some relevant information on the roles of a sports psychologist such as assisting athletes with the mental side of performance, or basically included a report on some general performance link or example.

  3. Better responses demonstrated a depth of understanding of the manipulation within each of the phases of competition with direct links to endurance training. Typical responses addressed each of the phases separately and included the specific goals and plans for each with an endurance-based example. Better responses also included suggested timelines and addressed peaking and tapering within the phases, and demonstrated how this may be achieved through manipulation of training volumes and intensities.

    In addition, the better responses drew out the performance implications of the phases upon the endurance-based activities and provided examples to reinforce each. These included techniques such as continuous, interval and aerobic training as well as adaptations from endurance training and the role of testing throughout the plan. These were best shown when linked to a specific endurance activity as it allowed students to progress through the phases.

    Mid-range responses provided details of the phases of competition but failed to establish the endurance training link. Typical responses showed an understanding of the goals of each phase and the manipulation of training intensities to achieve them, but tended to be generic in nature or omitted endurance examples. These responses often attempted to link team sports rather than endurance training.

    Weaker responses tended only to address the phases broadly and provided limited detail as to how or why they were used in improving performance.

Question 27 – Equity and health

  1. Better responses demonstrated a clear understanding of the characteristics of the social justice framework.

    Mid-range responses identified several components of the social justice framework.

    Weaker responses provided limited information regarding the characteristics of the social justice framework

  2. Better responses demonstrated a clear understanding of the role of government funding for health. These responses provided clear links and relevant examples to the contributing factors of health inequities.

    Mid-range responses outlined a limited number of features of funding, with some supporting examples.

    Weaker responses focused on general government funding with little reference to specific funding programs.

  3. Better responses clearly analysed a wide range of specific factors influencing the health of rural and remote communities. These responses were supported by a range of clear examples.

    Mid-range responses outlined the relationship between the factors impinging on the health of rural and remote communities, giving few examples.

    Weaker responses identified limited factors with little or no reference to the health of rural and remote communities.


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