woman walking in a foggy street

Assessment Objectives

Assessment Objectives

Each examination board will have their own mark scheme, but the assessment objectives usually focus on your application of knowledge and understanding of media language and representation. For instance, your responses should combine different elements, such as images and language, in a way that communicates a clear message to the audience.

You will also be rewarded for how effectively your cross-media product engages the audience and meets industry standards. In other words, are the texts fit for purpose.

The following guide is a pupil-friendly approach to the assessment objectives.

Codes and Conventions

Although you are not being marked on the detail and quality of your research, it is essential you explore the relevant codes and conventions of the chosen media forms. Go online and identify existing products that are similar to your own ideas. Carefully and critically watch the trailers on YouTube, analyse print advertisements, listen closely to podcasts, scrutinise the layout of an interesting two-page magazine spread, and evaluate the user experience of different websites.

Put simply, you need to demonstrate an appreciation of genre in your own cross-media product.

Mode of Address

To figure out the best way to engage the interest of your target audience, you should define your users in terms of demographics and psychographics. Will an informal mode of address grab their attention, or would a formal approach be more effective? Should you use a bright and brash colour scheme or a softer palette? Think carefully about the content of your media texts and makes sure your tone is appropriate.

Consider the difference between the following two magazine covers:

Formal Mode of Address
Informal Mode of Address

The cover of Heat magazine has a less formal mode of address than the edition of Vogue. This contrast in style is epitomised by the formality of the studio photoshoot compared to the paparazzi-style images. Of course, the dress codes and non-verbal codes reinforce the tone of each publication. The serif typeface used by Vogue is elegant compared to the modern sans serif typeface on the cover of Heat. Even the number of coverlines help create the different modes of address.

For your own cross-media product, make sure you speak to the audience in a register they will appreciate.

Control Connotations

When you are researching existing media texts, deconstruct how they control meaning and communicate their message to the target audience. Of course, they will conform to certain industry conventions, but you still need to make notes about camerawork, diegetic and non-diegetic sound, editing, voice, layout, typography, navigation, colour codes, institutional codes, and representation.

You then need to work out how these elements combine to encode the producer’s intended message because you must show deliberate control of connotations in your own cross-media product.

You need to think carefully about the purpose of your texts and how you want your audience to react. This will help you construct clear meanings.


Use representations that are appropriate to the audience and form. Please do not just point your camera at your friends getting ready for a Saturday night out and expect the representation to be glamorous. Or headshots of your friends dressed in their school uniform with the brick wall background looks very last minute in any product. Our guide to taking photographs is essential reading if you want to know more about representation.

Just a quick point about performers and participants. You are being assessed on your own original work. Obviously, you will have to beg friends and family to appear in your product or help with the equipment. However, they must be under your direction. You must have creative control at all times.

The exam boards expect you to explain how non-assessed participants contributed to your production. For example, if someone took photographs of you for the newspaper article or an advertisement, you should make that clear on the cover sheet.

Media Industry

If you want to communicate clear meanings to you audience and achieve the top marks, you need to follow codes and conventions, ensure the style of your cross-media product is fit for purpose, and get the right representation. Unfortunately, many candidates do not have that same level of attention to detail when it comes to demonstrating their knowledge of the media industry.

Independent films rarely have blockbuster budgets with Oscar-winning actresses. There is a difference between a public broadcaster and a channel which relies on advertising for revenue. And it is unrealistic to expect a national newspaper to feature a local celebrity on their front page because of their support for the environment.

Your institutional codes need to be appropriate so think carefully about how your cross-media product fits into the contemporary media landscape.

Final Thoughts

The coursework component of media studies can be difficult. Before you begin, make sure you edit and redraft your scripts, sketch out magazine layouts, draw a story board or create a list of shots and mise-en-scène considerations, and plan out the structure of a website. Mock-ups are really useful because they can save you time when it comes to taking that terrific picture or acting out that fantastic scene. Good planning will help you control the connotations and make sure the preferred reading is decoded by the audience.

However, there is one final aspect of the assessment objectives that must followed. Make sure you meet all the requirements of the brief and complete all the tasks. If you are tasked with creating six pages of a magazine, then create six pages. If you need six social media adverts, then create six social media adverts. If you need seven original images, then include seven original images.

For more information about the minimum requirements, read our guide to the indicative content of media coursework.

Further Reading

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