Assessment Objectives and Key Skills in A Level Sociology

There are three key skills you need to demonstrate in A level Sociology (see the Sociology Student Handbook for how they are weighted in the exam)

  • AO1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of sociological theories, concepts and evidence
  • AO2 Apply sociological theories, concepts, evidence and research methods to a range of issues
  • AO3 Analyse and evaluate sociological theories, concepts, evidence and research methods in order to:
    o present arguments
    o make judgements
    o draw conclusions.

Below are eight specific ways you can demonstrate these skills in relation to sociological concepts, theories and evidence. They get progressively harder, sort of.

AO1 – Define/ explain the theory or Concept
AO1 – Give examples to illustrate this theory or concept

AO2 – Apply the theory or concept – How far does the theory/ concept help you understand different aspects of social life?
AO2 – Analyse – What are the key foundational ideas of the theory or the concept?
AO2 – Analyse – How does the theory/ concept relate to other theories/ concepts – which are the most closely related, which the opposite?

AO3 – Evaluate from other PERSPECTIVES – What would other perspectives say about the theory/ concept? (obviously this overlaps with no/.5 above
AO3 – Evaluate – HISTORICAL CRITICISM – Is the theory/ concept dated? When was the concept developed? Is it still relevant today, or has society changed so much that it is no longer relevant? Has society changed in such a way that some aspects of the theory are now more relevant?
AO3 – Evalaute – POWER/ BIAS/ VALUE FREEDOM? Who developed the concept/ theory – whose interests does it serve?

You also need to be able to evaluate research methods – but more of that later!

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