The focus of question 4 is on students’ own personal reading of the texts in light of the statement and their critical engagement with it. For AO4, students need to be able to show a personal engagement with the texts and a degree of ‘critical distance’. The question in the sample material prompts this by asking ‘How far do you agree?’ to encourage an overview of the texts.
The first and second bullet points in the question are linked to AO4 and they require students to show an understanding of what the writers are saying and how they are presenting it. Students should consider things like writers' viewpoints, bias and different interpretations of the texts. This may include some elements of language analysis to support points, but it is not an in-depth look at the use of language and structure as in Qu3. Terminology is not a focus here like it is for the AO2 questions. The focus of Qu4 should be on an evaluation of viewpoints/perspectives and of the student's own interpretation in light of the statement.
The third bullet point in Q4 is linked to AO3 and the focus is on a comparison of the ideas in the texts in light of the statement. The comparison of ideas could include similarities or differences in ideas – for example, both Douglass and Mandela showed the importance for fighting for what you believe in in order to ‘make things right’ but the Douglass text suggests that violence led to resolution, whereas the Obama text doesn’t dwell on this.
High level responses tend to compare and contrast throughout on a point by point basis, picking out aspects of each text comparing and evaluating them as they go. Responses that focus solely on Text 1 then on Text 2 comparing at the end tend to be less successful.
For further guidance see our guide on how to approach Question 4.