Here's what a star student thought of this essay
Quality of writing
The essay is sometimes hard to read because the student does not use enough punctuation - the entire introduction, for example, is actually only one sentence. This makes it harder for the examiner to understand because it is not broken up into ordinary sized chunks of information. Also, the essay is not always written in an appropriate style for A Levels - phrases like "this is blindingly obvious" sound exaggerated, and it would be more appropriate to say something like "this was never more obvious". The essay makes good use of vocabulary such as "however", which is good because words like that reiterate the student's knowledge of other interpretations and proves that they can consider other opinions on historical events.
Level of analysis
The student uses a good range of evidence, including statistics such as "by 1935, 30% of black families were receiving relief". This is good because it shows that the student understands that it was a significant number of people receiving relief, not a tiny, irrelevant percentage. The student is also very good at talking about why things happened and what the effects were, rather than simply telling the story of what happened, which is bad as it takes little thought to remember and write down details. The student instead gives details then says things like "many of these programs did have the knock-on effect of bringing aid to African Americans" - this shows they have thought deeply about what happened to people when the programs were introduced, rather than spending a paragraph talking about the irrelevant details of the programs such as which senator introduced them or how long they took to pass. The conclusion is not explicitly labelled as the conclusion - the student doesn't say "In conclusion..." - which would have been good because it is unclear whether or not this is actually the conclusion. It is vital to have a conclusion - and to leave the examiner in no doubt that it is there - because it shows you can decide which interpretation you have considered is the most likely to be correct. This student does this by saying "the only branch who can claim to be the most important in terms of civil rights is the Supreme Court", but they could improve by labelling the last paragraph as the conclusion.
Response to question
The student answers the question quite well by providing alternative interpretations on the roles of the branches of the federal government, which is good as it shows they have thought about other possible causes of African American civil rights and aren't just focusing on one event. However, it is hard to see where consideration of one interpretation stops and another begins: it would be better to bring all the arguments for the Supreme Court into one section, all the arguments for Congress into the next section, and all the arguments for the presidency into the next section. This would show that the student had a strong understanding of how the branches of the federal government had different roles to play in the achievement of civil rights. If you did this, you should still talk about other branches of the federal government even if it wasn't in the right section, because that would show the ability to compare an action of one branch to an action of another branch.