Last Updated on October 10, 2022 by Karl Thompson
This is normally the first topic taught as part of the sociology of education module within A-level sociology.
Perspectives on the role of education covers mainly bullet point one on the AQA A-level sociology specification on the role of education as it relates to society and the economy.
Perspectives on education are assessed as part of the AQA’s SCLY1 Paper one: Education and Theory and Methods paper – one of three papers outlined on my revision exam and advice page.
Perspectives on Education: Main Sub Topics
- The Functionalist Perspective
- The Marxist Perspective
- The Neoliberal and New Right Perspective
- The Post-Modernist Perspective
- The Impact of Globalisation on Education
- The relationship between education, the economy and work
You need to be able to define the following key concepts, explain how they are related to class and educational achievement, and asses their relative importance in explaining ethnic differences in educational achievement
- Ideological state apparatus
- Repressive state apparatus
- Ideological tool
- Dominant ideology
- Correspondence theory
- The hidden/informal curriculum
- Voucher System
- Value consensus
- Role allocation
- Specialist skills
- Social solidarity
- National identity
For definitions of these key concepts please see my education key concepts page.
Selected Short Answer Questions
There are three types of question – a four and a six mark which will ask you to outline two things and a 10 mark ‘analyse using the item’ question.
- Outline two ways in which education might transmit the dominant ideology according to Marxists (4 marks)
- Outline two ways in which education might benefit males according to feminists (4 marks)
- Outline three positive functions of education according to functionalists (6 marks)
- Outline two similarities between the Functionalist and New Right perspectives on education (4 marks)
- (Applying material from item B) analyse two ways in which education might contribute to the maintenance of society as a whole (10 marks)
- (Applying material from item B and elsewhere analyse two ways in which the education system has changed in response to globalisation (10 marks)
- Applying material from Item A, analyse two effects of increased parental choice on pupils’ experience of education (10 marks).
Possible 30 Mark Essay Questions on Education
As with the 10 mark questions you will get an item for the essay questions which you must refer to in your answer for maximum possible marks!
(Using material from the item and elsewhere) Evaluate sociological explanations of the role of education in transmitting ideas and values (30)
(Using material from the item and elsewhere) Evaluate the Marxist Perspective on the Role of Education in Society (30)
Assess the point of view that education creates inequality in society. (20)
Signposting and other relevant posts:
For links to further posts on perspectives on education please see my sociology of education page.
For advice on how to answer short answer questions and the essay questions above you might like to see my page on revision and exam advice, the paper 1 section!
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