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Section A: Education

Answer either Question 1 or Question 2.

1 (a) Explain why the educational achievement of girls has improved compared to boys in many modern industrial societies. [9]

[0–4] A few general observations about gender inequality in education with no direct links to the question set, would be worth 2 or 3 marks. A sound account of the reasons why, in the past, the educational performance of girls may have been inferior to that of boys, 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 cover a number of factors that explain why levels of educational achievement among girls have improved compared to boys in many modern industrial societies in recent times, but the discussion will lack detail. Relevant factors to consider include: the development of co-educational schools, the impact on girls' aspirations of changes in the position of women in the workplace and wider society, changes in the curriculum that may be more favourable to girls, and the feminisation of the teaching profession in many countries. Also reward candidates who identify appropriate reasons why the performance of boys may have declined relative to girls. Higher in the band, the reasons offered will be explained in reasonable detail and the analysis overall will be coherent and plausible. References to relevant studies, whilst not essential, would be a further way of adding depth to an answer.

(b) Assess the view that schools reproduce social inequality. [16]

[0–6] A few simple points about social inequality, with no direct links to the questions, would fit the lower part of the band. An answer that described some ways in which social inequality may be reflected in differences in the educational achievement of particular groups, with no further development in relation to the question, would merit the upper part of the band.

[7–11] A sound sociological account of one way in which schools might reproduce social inequality (for example, reference to language codes, the hidden curriculum or streaming), would be worth 7 or 8 marks. To reach the higher part of the band, the discussion will be wider ranging and cover two or more ways in which schools might reproduce social inequality. Examples of social inequality may relate to class, ethnicity, and gender. However, within that band it is likely that the discussion will be confined to just one of these dimensions of inequality, most likely social class. There may be little or no explicit assessment at this level.

[12–16] Answers at this level will demonstrate a good understanding of the ways in which schools may reproduce social inequality. There will also be an assessment of the extent to which schools reproduce social inequality. Lower in the band, the assessment may be confined to a few simple points for or against the idea that schools reproduce social inequality. These points may be expressed through the juxtaposition of different theoretical perspectives (conflict and functionalist perspectives, for example). To go higher, the assessment must be more direct and sustained. A good range of points will be made for or against the view on which the question is based. High-quality answers are likely to distinguish between different dimensions of social inequality (class, ethnicity, gender) and may include references to relevant theoretical perspectives and/or studies.

2 (a) Explain the part that cultural capital may play in determining which pupils succeed at school. [9]

[0–4] A few assertions about the factors that influence educational success, with no direct links to the question, would fit the lower part of the band. An answer that demonstrates some understanding of the concept of cultural capital, but with little further development in relation to the question, could gain up to 4 marks.

[5–9] Lower in the band, answers will provide a basic explanation of the part that cultural capital may play in determining educational success. Higher in the band, the explanation will be more detailed. This might include references to Bourdieu and possibly also to empirical research that his concept of cultural capital has inspired e.g. Ball, Bowe and Gewirtz.

(b) 'The main role of schools is to prepare pupils for work'. Assess this view. [16]

[0–6] A few simple assertions about the role of schools, with no direct links to the question, would fit the lower part of the band. A basic explanation of how education may seek to prepare pupils for work would merit a mark in the top half of the band.

[7–11] A brief summary of the different roles or functions that have been ascribed to the education system, with no further development, would be worth 7 or 8 marks. A good analysis of the role of education in preparing pupils for work, without any assessment, would justify a mark in the higher part of the band. This type of response might be developed, for example, through a discussion of the links between education/training and employability. Likewise, candidates might discuss particular theorists who have contributed to debates in this area, such as Bowles and Gintis, Willis and Hargreaves.

[12–16] Answers at this level will demonstrate a good understanding of the possible links between education and work. 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 few points evaluating the contribution that education makes to preparing pupils for work. Better answers will go beyond this type of response to question in a broader context what purposes or role is served by the education system. For example, different sociological perspectives might be cited in order to discuss the relative importance of the different roles or functions that have been ascribed to education (economic, social, cultural and libertarian functions, for example). High-quality answers may also distinguish between different forms of educational provision and the relevance of those distinctions for addressing the issues raised by the question.

Section B: Global Development

Answer either Question 3 or Question 4.

3 (a) Explain the difficulties in measuring global inequality. [9]

[0–4] A simple attempt to define the concept of global inequality, with no reference to problems of measuring its extent, would trigger the lower part of the band. Likewise, a few points about the causes of global inequality would also be worth up to two marks. A better answer at this level might describe one difficulty in measuring global inequality, or else simply list two or three difficulties with no clear explanations offered.

[5–9] Lower in the band, different definitions of global inequality may be discussed and two or more problems of measuring global inequality will be described. To go higher, the explanation of the difficulties in measuring global inequality will be more detailed and/or cover a wider range of relevant factors.

Difficulties in measuring global inequality include: problems of defining 'inequality'; difficulties in comparing subsistence based lifestyles with the conditions of life for those who are wage earners; the relative nature of poverty across societies that differ widely in terms of cultural and socio-economic factors; different ways of collecting and recording relevant statistical data, and lack of relevant data in the case of some countries.

(b) 'Global inequality has been increasing in the last few decades'. Assess this view. [16]

[0–6] A few simple assertions about the nature of global inequality, with little or no sociological foundation, would fit the lower part of the band. A basic account of what is meant by global inequality, with no further development in relation to the question, would merit a mark in the top half of the band.

[7–11] A basic account of what is meant by global inequality, together with some very simple observations about trends in global inequality in recent decades, would trigger the lower part of the band. A better answer at this level would provide more detail about recent trends in global inequality. However, there may be little or no explicit attempt at assessment at this level.

[12–16] Answers at this level will provide a good account of recent trends in global inequality. There will also be an assessment of the view on which the question is based. Lower in the band, the assessment may rely on a basic statement of some evidence about the extent of global inequality today compared to some relevant period in the past (the 1950s, 1960s or 1970s, for example). To go higher, the assessment must cover a wider range of points and raise questions about, for example, what is meant by global inequality, how can it be measured, and how far can reliable generalisations about trends in this area be made. High-quality answers may also distinguish between different regions of the world within the broad division between developed and developing countries. Global inequality may be narrowing in some developing countries, but widening in others, for example.

4 (a) Explain why the population in low-income countries is increasing faster than the population in high-income countries. [9]

[0–4] A few simple points about population growth, with no clear links to the question set, would trigger the lower part of the band. A basic account of one reason why population is increasing faster in low-income countries than in high-income countries, would fit the higher part of the band. Likewise, a simple list-like summary of two or three reasons why the populations is increasing faster in low-income countries than in high-income countries, would also be worth 3 or 4 marks.

[5–9] A basic account of two or three reasons why the population is increasing faster in low-income countries than in high-income countries, would fit the lower part of the band. To go higher, several relevant reasons will be covered and the explanations will be well-developed. Reasons why population is increasing faster in low-income countries include: children viewed as an economic asset; improvements in health care and medical treatment; in some countries, development is raising standards of living; impact of aid and humanitarian interventions in disaster zones; age profile of the population i.e. more younger people.

(b) 'The poor remain in poverty because they lack the right cultural values to change their lives for the better.’ Assess this view. [16]

[0–6] A few simple observations about poverty, with no direct links to the question, would fit the lower part of the band. A better answer at this level might offer a simple explanation of why poverty exists, but demonstrating limited sociological understanding. A reasonable attempt to consider different definitions of poverty, with no further development, would also be worth up to 6 marks. Answers that focus on class inequality rather than poverty as such are unlikely to be worth more than 6 marks.

[7–11] A basic account of one explanation of poverty, with no further development, would be worth 7 or 8 marks. A better answer at this level will provide a basic account of two or three explanations of poverty. A basic account may lack some detail and fail to refer to relevant sociological studies, theories or thinkers. There may be little or no explicit assessment at this level.

[12–16] Answers that fit this band will provide a good account of two or more explanations of 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 theories of poverty, with some attention drawn to the distinction between structural and cultural explanations. To go higher, the assessment must be explicit and well-reasoned conclusions will be reached about the extent to which the perpetuation of poverty can be explained in terms of cultural factors.

Section C: Media

Answer either Question 5 or Question 6.

5 (a) Explain the social factors that may affect the impact of media messages on audiences. [9]

[0–4] A few assertions about the impact of the media on human behaviour, with little or no sociological foundation, would fit the lower part of the band. A basic account of a single factor that may affect the impact of media messages on audiences, would merit the top half of the band. Likewise, a simple list of several relevant factors, with no further development, would gain 3 or 4 marks.

[5–9] A basic account of two or three factors that affect the impact of media messages on audiences, would trigger the lower part of the band. Better answers would go into greater depth about the factors covered and/or include references to a broader range of factors. The factors likely to affect the impact of media messages on audiences include: social class, gender, ethnicity, age, levels of education, religion.

(b) ’Media representations of minority ethnic groups are based on a narrow range of stereotypes'. Assess this view. [16]

[0–6] A few assertions about how ethnic minorities are represented in the media, with little sociological insight, would fit the lower half of the band. A basic attempt to explain what is meant by a stereotype in relation to the media, would merit the top half of the band.

[7–11] A simple account of how media representations of ethnic minorities are based on a narrow range of stereotypes would be worth 7 or 8 marks. A simple account would be limited in the examples offered and the explanation may lack clarity and detail. A better answer at this level would provide a clear and well-illustrated account of how media representations of ethnic minorities are based on a narrow range of stereotypes. There may be little or no explicit attempt at assessment at this level.

[12–16] Answers at this level will provide a good account of how media representations of ethnic minorities are based on a narrow range of stereotypes. There will also be an attempt to assess the view on which the question is based. Lower in the band, the assessment may be confined to a few simple points supporting or challenging the view that media representations of ethnic minorities are based on a narrow range of stereotypes. To go higher, the assessment must be more developed and cover a wider range of points. High-quality answers may distinguish between different types of media and analyse the relevance of these distinctions for answering the question. The ability of individuals and groups to challenge stereotypes in the media and effect changes in media coverage, might also be considered in a good assessment. Reward candidates who make references to relevant studies of the media.

6 (a) Explain the differences between the traditional media and the new media. [9]

[0–4] A few simple observations about either the traditional media or the new media, would be worth 1 or 2 marks. An attempt to describe one difference between the two types of media, would trigger the higher part of the band.

[5–9] A basic account of two or three differences between the traditional media and the new media, would fit the lower part of the band. To go higher, the differences identified will be described in greater detail and/or a wider range of differences will be considered. Differences between the traditional media and the new media include: new media more open to two-way communication and less hierarchical in structure, frequently involving networks of communication; new media based primarily on the use of digital technology/ICT; new media often focused on smaller audiences with specific interests; new media facilitates social networking and citizen journalism.

(b) ‘Society is being transformed by the impact of the new media.’ Assess this view. [16]

[0–6] A few assertions about the impact of the media on society generally, with little sociological foundation, would fit the lower half of the band. A simple account of one impact of the new media, would merit the top half of the band. A simple account will lack detail and is likely to be inaccurate or unclear in some respects.

[7–11] A basic impact of the new media on society would be worth 7 or 8 marks. A basic account will be accurate, but still lacking some detail and development such as links to studies or other evidence. Better answers at this level will describe two or three ways in which the new media have impacted on society. Again, the discussion may be lacking in some detail and there may be little or no explicit assessment offered.

[12–16] Answers at this level will provide a good account of several ways in which the new media have impacted on society. There will also be an attempt to assess the significance and extent of impact. Lower in the band, the assessment may be limited to a few simple points; the main social changes brought about through the emergence of the new media. To go higher, the assessment needs to be more sustained and coherent, with clear conclusions emerging about the significance and extent of the impact of the new media on society. High-quality answers may refer to relevant studies and/or discuss specific examples of the new media. Good use of contributions from postmodernist writers (Baudrillard, Turkle) may be another distinguishing feature of answers that are worthy of high marks.

Section D: Religion

Answer either Question 7 or Question 8.

7 (a) Explain the differences between sects and churches. [9]

[0–4] A few observations about religious organisations, with limited references to churches and sects, would fit the lower half of the band. A simple account of one difference between sects and churches, would reach the top half of the band. A simple account will lack detail and is likely to be inaccurate or unclear in some respects.

[5–9] A basic account of one or two differences between sects and churches, would be worth up to 9 marks. To go higher, the account must be more detailed or widerranging in the differences covered. Differences between sects and churches include: sects are smaller and more strongly integrated; churches are usually more closely associated with the state; sects often attract their membership from marginalised groups in society; sects are often world-rejecting movements; sects tend to believe that they possess a monopoly on religious truth, which is less often the case today with churches; unlike churches, sects are not organised through a hierarchy of paid officials.

(b) Assess the view that women are discriminated against within organised religion. [16]

[0–6] A few observations about the nature or role of religion, without direct links to the question, would fit the lower part of the band. A few assertions about the role/status of women in organised religion, with little sociological insight, would fit the higher part of the band.

[7–11] A basic account of one way in which women may be discriminated against within organised religion, with sound sociological understanding, would be worth up to 9 marks. To go higher, the answer must discuss more than one way in which women may be discriminated against in organised religion. There may be little or no explicit assessment at this level.

Ways in which women may be discriminated against in organised religion include:

• Not allowed to be priests or similar roles

• Lower positions in the hierarchy of the organisation

• Expected to fulfil lower status work/functions

• Not allowed to participate in some religious practices.

Patriarchal views may be embedded in the belief systems and practices of the organisation.

[12–16] Answers at this level will demonstrate a good understanding of several ways in which women may be discriminated against in organised religion. 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 points for or against the idea that women are discriminated against in organised religion. To go higher, the assessment must be more sustained and clear conclusions will emerge about how far, and in what ways, women may be discriminated against in organised religion. High-quality answers may distinguish between different religions and explain the significance of these distinctions for answering the question. Answers at this level might also make appropriate links to sociological theories, most obviously the feminist perspective. Good answers may also note the increasing role of women in some religious organisations and attempts by women’s groups to change attitudes towards the involvement of women in positions of authority in churches and other religious organisations.

8 (a)Explain the growth of New Age ideas in modern industrial societies. [9]

[0–4] A simple attempt to define what is meant by the New Age, would fit the lower part of the band. A basic account of one factor leading to the growth of New Age ideas, would fit the higher part of the band.

[5–9] A basic account of two or three factors that have led to the growth of New Age ideas, would merit a mark in the lower half of the band up to 7 marks. To go higher, the explanation must be more detailed and/or cover a wider range of factors behind the growth of New Age ideas. Reasons for the growth of the New Age include: Drane's ideas that the New Age is a response to the failure of the scientific and materialistic world view; Bruce's theory that the New Age marks the zenith of individualism; Heelas' view that the New Age expresses ways of finding an identity in an increasingly fragmented modernity; a reaction to consumer culture; a manifestation of secularisation.

(b) 'There is little evidence that people are becoming less religious in modern industrial societies.' Assess this view. [16]

[0–6] A few points about how sociologists might explain the existence of religion, or its role in society, would fit the lower part of the band. A few assertions about the supposed declining influence of religion, with little sociological foundation, would merit the higher part of the band.

[7–11] Lower in the band, the answer will offer a basic account of the secularisation thesis, but there may be no reference to evidence for or against that thesis. To go higher, the answer must include some reference to appropriate evidence about the extent to which people may be becoming less religious in modern industrial societies. Relevant evidence would include the findings from studies of church attendance/membership, studies of religious belief, studies of participation in religious festivals and ceremonies. There may be little or no explicit assessment at this level.

[12–16] Answers at this level will include a good account of evidence that might demonstrate, or refute, the idea that people are becoming less religious. There will also be an attempt to assess the view on which the question is based. Lower in the band, the assessment may be limited to a few simple points supporting or rejecting the idea that people are becoming less religious. To go higher, the assessment must be more developed and cover a wider range of points, with a clear and well supported conclusion emerging about the extent of religiosity today. High-quality answers are likely to include references to relevant studies and/or theorists. Good answers will also keep the focus of the discussion on the issue of what evidence exists to support, or contradict, the claim that people are less religious today.

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)