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Section A: Education

Answer either Question 1 or Question 2.

1 (a) Explain the obstacles to educational achievement that a child from a poor family may face. [9]

0–4 A few points about social class and educational achievement, with little or no sociological backing, would be placed in the lower part of the band. A simple account of one or two reasons why a child from a poor family may face barriers to educational achievement, with no further development in relation to the question, could gain up to a maximum of 4 marks.

5–9 Lower in the band, answers are likely to describe two or three barriers that a child from a poor family may face in education. Relevant factors to consider include: material deprivation, cultural deprivation, peer group influences, labelling, and responses of teachers. Higher in the band, the barriers will be described in greater detail and/or a wider range of relevant barriers will be considered.

(b) 'Educational policies designed to overcome inequality in schools can never be successful'. Assess this view. [16]

0–6 A few simple points about educational policies, with no direct links to the question, would be placed in the lower part of the band. An answer that offers a few simple points about why educational policies to overcome inequality in schools might fail, with no wider analysis or links to appropriate sociological material, would merit being placed in the upper part of the band.

7–11 A sound sociological account of the difficulties associated with overcoming inequality in schools, with only limited reference to educational policies, would be placed in the lower part of the band. To reach the higher part of the band, there must be more of a focus on educational policies specifically. This might be achieved by referring to one or more specific policies, such as compensatory education or curriculum reform, or by discussing education policy in a more general sense. Educational policy could also be interpreted as referring to the policies that are implemented by particular schools or local authorities. The introduction of free state education could also be viewed as an example of ‘educational policy’.

12–16 The idea that educational policies may be limited in what they can achieve in terms of reducing or removing inequality in schools, will be explained in reasonable detail at this level. There will also be an assessment of the view on which the question is based. Lower in the band, the assessment may be limited to a few general comments about the difficulty of combating the influence of factors such as poverty and social class on educational achievement. To be placed higher in the band, there must be a more detailed assessment of the factors that might limit the effectiveness of educational policies designed to end inequality in schools. High-quality responses might distinguish between different examples of educational policy or might consider the impact on different groups of pupils in terms of age, class, gender or ethnic background. Good answers may also highlight the relevance of theoretical perspectives in discussing the issues raised by the question.

2 (a) Explain how some minority ethnic groups may be disadvantaged by the hidden curriculum. [9]

0–4 A few simple points about the hidden curriculum in general, would be worth 1 or 2 marks. A basic account of some factors that influence the educational performance of ethnic minority pupils, which includes some vague reference to the hidden curriculum, would be placed in the higher part of the band.

5–9 Lower in the band, answers will provide a basic account of what is meant by the hidden curriculum and how it might impact upon ethnic minority pupils specifically. This type of response may be more able to explain the nature of the hidden curriculum but may struggle to explain how ethnic minority pupils are specifically affected. Better answers will demonstrate a surer handling of the relevant material, and will explore the impact on these pupils in some detail.

(b) 'Labelling is the main reason why working class pupils underachieve at school.' Assess this view. [16]

0–6 A few simple points about the nature of educational achievement, would be placed in the lower part of the band. A simple account of how labelling may impact on educational achievement, would merit a mark in the top half of the band.

7–11 Lower in the band, answers may provide a sound account of how labelling may impact on educational achievement. This type of response may present a weak assessment of how the quote links to the position of working class pupils specifically. Higher in the band, the links between labelling and the educational performance of working class pupils will be explored directly. There may be little or no explicit assessment at this level.

12–16 Lower in the band, a good account of the links between labelling and the educational performance of working class pupils will be offered. There will also be some basic assessment of the view on which the question is based. The assessment at this level is likely to be confined to the simple juxtaposition of different factors that might influence the educational performance of working class pupils. Higher in the band, however, the assessment will engage with the issues raised by the question more directly, and well-reasoned conclusions will be reached regarding whether or not labelling is the main reason why working class pupils under-achieve at school. High-quality responses might include references to appropriate sociological perspectives and/or studies, such as: Willis, Ball, Hargreaves, Smith and Noble, Keddie, or Woods.

Section B: Global Development

Answer either Question 3 or Question 4.

3 (a) Explain the rapid growth of the newly industrialising nations in East Asia. [9]

0–4 A few basic observations mentioning the factors affecting growth generally, with no specific links to east Asia, would be placed in the lower part of the band. A simple account of one or two factors that have led to this rapid growth in parts of east Asia, would be placed in the top half of the band.

5–9 Lower in the band, answers will demonstrate a sound understanding of two or three factors that have led to rapid growth in parts of east Asia. To be placed in the higher band, the explanations must be more detailed or wider ranging. A more detailed analysis might, for example, include relevant links between the specific characteristics of development in east Asia and wider themes about development in general. Relevant factors to consider in discussing the rapid growth in parts of east Asia include: the impact of a colonial past; relocation of industry from Europe and the US; favourable provision of aid in part linked to US efforts to win support in east Asia during the Cold War; cultural traditions in the region; government systems and policies. Answers that offer only a general account of different theories of development (i.e. with little or no direct reference to the Asian tiger economies specifically), should be awarded a maximum of 7 marks only.

(b) Assess the strengths and limitations of dependency theories of global inequality. [16]

0–6 A few simple observations about global inequality, with no direct links to the question set, would be placed in the lower part of the band. A limited attempt to explain the key ideas behind dependency theories, perhaps rather simplisticly and with some inaccuracies, would merit a mark in the top half of the band.

7–11 A basic account of dependency theories in general, would be placed in the lower part of the band. A better answer at this level may distinguish between different contributions to dependency theory (Frank, Emmanuel, Cardoso) or may begin to consider some strengths and/or limitations of dependency theories. There may be little or no explicit attempt at assessment at this level.

12–16 Answers at this level will include a clear and accurate account of dependency theories. There will also be an assessment of the view on which the question is based. Lower in the band, the assessment may be confined to a simple juxtaposition of arguments for and against dependency theories of global inequality. To be placed in the higher band, the assessment must be more explicit, and well-reasoned arguments should be offered to support conclusions about the overall value of dependency theories in explaining global inequality. High-quality answers may be distinguished by drawing relevant contrasts with other theoretical perspectives, including world systems theory, state-centred theories and market-oriented theories. Another way of showing sophistication in the analysis would be by recognising changes over time in the nature of relationships between developed and developing countries.

4 (a) Explain the demographic transition model. [9]

0–4 A few simple points about demographic change in general, with little or no direct reference to the demographic transition model, would be placed in the lower part of the band. A better answer at this level will describe one or two features of the demographic transition model, without providing a clear overall account of the model.

5–9 Lower in the band, a basic account of the demographic transition model will be offered. The four stages of the model will be identified, but the description will lack detail. To be placed in the higher band, each stage in the model will be fully explained, and some of the underlying assumptions behind the model may also be mentioned.

(b) 'Controlling population growth is the key to reducing global poverty'. Assess this view. [16]

0–6 A few simple points about the nature of global poverty, with no direct links to population growth, would be placed in the lower part of the band. Higher in the band, there may be some simple points about the links between population growth and global poverty, with little or no evidence of sociological understanding.

7–11 Lower in the band, a few basic observations will be made about the links between population growth and global poverty. Better answers at this level will provide a more detailed account of those links. However, there may be little or no attempt to consider other factors that might have an impact on global poverty. At this level, there need not be any explicit assessment of the importance of population growth as a factor that explains global poverty.

12–16 Answers that fit this band will provide a good account of the possible links between population growth and global poverty. There will also be an attempt to assess the view on which the question is based. Lower in the band, the assessment is likely to be developed through the juxtaposition of different factors (or theories) that might help explain global poverty. To be placed in the higher band, the assessment must be explicit, and well-reasoned conclusions will be reached about whether controlling population growth really is the key solution to reducing global poverty.

Section C: Media

Answer either Question 5 or Question 6.

5 (a) Explain the pluralist theory of the role of the media. [9]

0–4 A few observations about the role of the media which are of broad sociological relevance without directly linking to the question, would be worth 1 or 2 marks. A simple attempt to explain the pluralist theory, perhaps with some inaccuracies and/or omissions, would be placed in the upper part of the band.

5–9 A basic account of the pluralist theory, would be placed in the lower part of the band. A basic account will be broadly accurate and will cover the essential features of pluralist theory, but much of the context or detail necessary to provide a good account of the theory will be missing. Better answers will provide the necessary context and detail. In high-quality answers, there will be clear evidence that the candidate understands the thinking that underpins the pluralist view of the role of the media. Relevant concepts and ideas will be explained with a high level of clarity and some detail.

(b) 'The content of the media reflects the ideas of the ruling class'. Assess this view. [16]

0–6 A few assertions about the role or influence of the media, with little sociological bearing, would be placed in the lower half of the band. A simple attempt to explain how the ideas of the ruling class may be reflected in the media, would merit being placed in the top half of the band.

7–11 A sound account of a range of factors that might influence the content of the media, with references to the ruling class being somewhat embedded and limited in scope, would be worth 7 or 8 marks. A better answer at this level will focus clearly on explaining how the ideas of the ruling class may come to exert an influence over the content of the media. There may be little or no explicit attempt to assess the view on which the question is based at this level.

12–16 Answers in this band must provide a good account of the influence of the ruling class on the content of the media, situated clearly within the context of Marxist theory. There will also be an assessment of the view on which the question is based. Lower in the band, the assessment may be limited to a few simple criticisms of the Marxist theory of the media; or the assessment may be implied through the juxtaposition of the Marxist theory with a contrasting theory, such as the pluralist view. A better answer will include an explicit and sustained assessment of the value of the Marxist theory of the media. This might also include, for example, an attempt to draw overall conclusions about the interests and values that are reflected in the media. Attempts to distinguish between different types of media as part of the analysis may be a further way in which sophistication can be demonstrated in answering the question. Likewise, reward candidates who distinguish between different strands of Marxist theory.

6 (a) Explain the uses and gratification model of how audiences are affected by the media. [9]

0–4 A few observations about the impact of the media on audiences, would be worth 1 or 2 marks. A partially successful attempt to explain the gratification, would merit a mark in the top half of the band. A partly successful explanation might, for example, leave out some important details about the model or might lack clarity of expression in some key respects.

5–9 Lower in the band, answers will provide a basic account of the gratification model. This type of answer may lack some detail or subtlety of explanation. Higher in the band, the explanation will be more carefully mapped and will be more detailed. This might include, for example, an attempt to explain the context in which the gratification model was developed, i.e. as a response to the perceived limitations of the hypodermic and two-step flow models.

(b) Assess the postmodernist contribution to understanding the impact of the media. [16]

0–6 A few simple points about the supposed influence of the media, with little sociological foundation, would be placed in the lower half of the band. A simple account of one or two theories of the media, with no clear links to postmodernist thinking, would merit being placed in the top half of the band.

7–11 A few simple points about the postmodernist theory in general, with only slim links to the media specifically, would be worth 7 or 8 marks. A better answer at this level would provide a basic account of postmodernist ideas concerning the impact of the media. This might include references to the work of relevant theorists such as Baudrillard, Bauman, Lyotard, or Turkle. There may be little or no explicit assessment at this level.

12–16 Answers at this level must include a good account of the postmodernist analysis of the impact of the media. There will also be an assessment of the postmodernist contribution. Lower in the band, the assessment may be confined to the simple juxtaposition of postmodernist theory with one or more contrasting theories of the media, such as the Marxist or feminist views. Higher in the band, the assessment will be explicit, and the value of postmodernist ideas will be considered directly. This might include an assessment both of individual contributions by postmodernist thinkers and reflections on the value of the postmodernist perspective on the media in general.

Section D: Religion

Answer either Question 7 or Question 8.

7 (a) Explain why declining church attendance is not necessarily evidence that secularisation is occurring. [9]

0–4 A few assertions about secularisation, with no direct links to the question, would be placed in the lower half of the band. A simple account of one or two reasons why declining church attendance is not necessarily evidence that secularisation is occurring, would reach the top half of the band.

5–9 A sound account of some reasons why declining church attendance is not necessarily evidence that secularisation is occurring, would trigger the lower part of the band. To be placed in the higher band, the account must be more detailed or wider-ranging in the arguments offered. Reasons why declining church attendance is not necessarily evidence that secularisation is occurring include: problems of definition of religiosity, lack of reliability of comparative statistics from earlier periods, different criteria are used to record membership of religious organisations, church attendance is not necessarily an indication of religiosity, people may conceal the truth about their religious practice and sentiments, and difficulty in operationalising the concept of religious belief for the purposes of sociological investigation.

(b) ‘In order to maintain their power, it has been necessary for religious organisations to find new ways of attracting members.’ Assess this view. [16]

0–6 A few simple points about the role of religious organisations in society, without direct links to the question, would be placed in the lower part of the band. A simple account of the type of power that religious organisations might wield, with no direct discussion of how that power is maintained today, would merit a mark in the top half of the band.

7–11 A basic account of the sources of power wielded by religious organisations, with no further development, would be placed in the lower part of the band. To be placed in the higher band, the answer needs to focus directly on the question, by examining exctly how religious organisations attempt to maintain their power in society today. Ways in which religious organisations may attempt to maintain or bolster their power today include: use of the media, adaptation to secular trends, reform of religious practice, involvement in pressure group activity and political campaigns.

12–16 Answers at this level will demonstrate a good understanding of a range of ways in which religious organisations might seek to maintain their power today. There will also be an assessment of the view on which the question is based. Lower in the band, the assessment may consist of a few limited points about the extent to which religious organisations remain a powerful force in society today. Better answers will engage more directly with the debate about the nature of religious power today. Well-conceived arguments will be advanced for and/or against the view on which the question is based. High-quality answers may also show other elements of sophistication, such as distinguishing between different types of religious organisation and/or between different countries.

8 (a) Explain why there has been a growth in new religious movements. [9]

0–4 A simple attempt to define what is meant by a new religious movement, with little or no further development, would be placed in the lower part of the band. A simple attempt to explain one or two reasons for the growth in new religious movements, would be worth 3 or 4 marks. Reasons for the growth in new religious movements include: links to the growth of youth culture, disenchantment with the established religious organisations, influence of the 1960s counter-culture, alienation from mainstream society.

5–9 Lower in the band, answers will provide a basic account of two or three reasons for the growth in new religious movements. To be placed in the higher band, the reasons covered must be explained in more detail and/or a wider range of reasons will be covered. Good answers may draw on the work of sociologists such as Wallis and Bruce, who have written about the reasons for the growth in new religious movements.

(b) Assess the view that religion is a form of ideology for controlling the working class. [16]

0–6 A few points about the role of religion, would be placed in the lower part of the band. A simple attempt to explain what is meant by ideology in the context of religion, with no further development, would merit being placed in the higher part of the band.

7–11 An answer that offers a simple account of the Marxist theory of religion, perhaps with some inaccuracies and demonstrating a lack of clarity, would be placed in the lower part of the band. A better answer at this level would explain the Marxist theory accurately and in more detail. At this level, there may be little or no explicit assessment of the view on which the question is based.

12–16 Answers at this level will provide a good account of the Marxist theory of religion. There will also be an attempt to assess that theory. Lower in the band, the assessment may be made through the simple juxtaposition of Marxist theory with one or more other theories of religion. Higher in the band, the assessment will be more direct and better tailored to the wording of the question. Reward candidates who distinguish between different Marxist contributions to the debate about the role of religion. High-quality answers may also include references to appropriate empirical evidence and may draw on relevant distinctions between different types of religious organisations.

Useful information (Hints)

Question 1(a)

Question 1(b)

 

Question 2(a)

 

Question 2(b)

 

Question 3(a)

 

Question 3(b)

 

Question 4(a)

 

Question 4(b)

 

Question 5(a)

Question 5(b)

 

Question 6(a)

 

Question 6(b)

 

Question 7(a)

 

Question 7(b)

 

Question 8(a)

 
Question 8(b)