- The Synoptic Module
14.1 Demands of the Synoptic Module.
The Synoptic Module
for the A Level specification is an exercise in decision making and, as
such, demands the development of the range of geographical skills, knowledge
and understanding identified in this specification. Candidates should
be taught how to analyse data, how to establish criteria for making a
decision and how to examine the possible consequences of that decision.
It is important
to note that preparation for the decision making exercise in the Synoptic
Unit requires the development of a deeper understanding of the connections
between the different aspects of geography represented in the specification
within the context identified in sections 14.2 to 14.5, inclusive, of
To enable candidates to address decision making, they must also he taught
to use their ability to:
and analyse a range of data and resources;
and use an evidence hase derived from a variety of sources of information;
their skills to evaluate a range of options;
a range of opinions concerning an issue using the geographical experience
gained from study of the topics in 14.6, below;·
identify and analyse potential areas of conflict;
their skills of decision-making to recommend a decision and justify
from their own knowledge additional justification for their decision,
the possible impacts of their decision.
The Process of Decision- Making.
following process should he rehearsed with students in order to equip
them for the Decision-Making Exercise.
of the issue/problem evaluation of the relevant evidence
review of alternative strategies for resolving the issue succinct
summary of the criteria for making a decision decision making
explanation of outcome(s) justification and review of
the decision-making process recognition of the limitations of
The Parties which may be involved in the Decision-Making Process
· International agencies · National and local government·
· Business interests, including transnational corporations·
Non-governmental organisations· Interest and pressure groups
· Individual people affected by the issue and the decision taken
14.4 The Economics and Politics of the Process.
The analysis of the criteria for decision making could include the role
of economic and political factors in determining outcomes. For example,
the role that economic factors could play in the management of physical
landforms overwhelmed by tourism; the role of political factors in the
selection of sites for out-of-town shopping areas or the role of environmental
organisations in the development of energy schemes.
14.5 The Environmental Context
Students should be encouraged to look at the following in an environmental
impact of issues on an environment ·
Conservation and exploitation; sustainability and growth ·
Legislation relating to the environment
The Context for the Development of Decision-Making Skills
The development of the skills referred to in section 14.1 must be taught
in the context of the knowledge, skills and understanding of modules
studied in the specification. This means that the synoptic module may
be set in the context of any of the following areas of the specification,
either in isolation, or combined as and when appropriate.
Assessment will be achieved by means of a decision-making exercise which
will be focussed on the analysis of an issue located in a particular
place or environment which is unfamiliar to candidates. It is envisaged
that, over time, a variety of scales will be used from local to regional,
to national, to international. The context will also be varied from
the UK, to other MEDCs, to LEDCs, thus representing countries in various
states of development. Where the context is drawn from that area of
the specification which is studied at AS, or from the options at AS,
material will be provided in the Advance Information Booklet in such
a way as to enable all candidates to be assessed to A Level standard.
Whole decision making exercises will not be set on an optional section
of the specification.
geomorphological and human processes affecting drainage basin hydrology.
and social issues resulting from the balance between population and
the use of resources in countries in various
states of development.
and social issues arising from the use of energy resources in countries
in various states of development.
changing sectoral and spatial organisation of business in the UK within
the last 30 years.
in social and demographic environments within urban areas within the
last 30 years.
coastal and urban physical environments.
change in the UK and the Wider World in the last 30 years and the Historical
Rural and Urban Landscapes of England and Wales.
pattern and causes of seasonal atmospheric changes.
changes within the tropical regions of Africa with wet and dry seasons
and the influence on hydrology and ecology.
term climatic change.
vegetation and soils in the British Isles.
relationship between the global structures and processes of the Earth's
surface and the location of tectonic processes and the consequences
of such processes.
origin, distribution, frequency, scale, effects, prediction, prevention
and conflict over the use of a resource.
corporations and the global economy.
relationship between international migration and multi cultural societies.
issues within an MEDC or LEDC.
extent to which regions of a country are integrated, or subject to separatist
extent to which political power within groups of nations is centralised
or decentralised, and the consequences of this.
Possible Issues and Decision-Making Scenarios Derived from the Specification
· Flood management - arising from 10.1, 11.2, 11.3, 13.1
· Food production and supply - arising from 10.2, 13.1, 13.3
· Sustainability of energy resources - arising from 10.2, 11.3,
· Tourist management - arising from 10.3, 11.1, 11.2, 12.2, 13.2
aid and development - arising from 10.3, 12.1, 13.3
social and economic issues at a local scale - arising from 10.3,
12.1, 12.2, 13.2, 13.3
and landscape management - arising from 11.3,12.2,
and hazard relief- arising from 10.2, 13.1, 13.2
developments - arising from 10.3, 11.3, 12.1, 12.2, 13.3
of political conflicts (local, national and international) - arising
from 10.3, 12.1, 13.3.