I’m just in the process of re-examining the AQA’s ‘specification’/ vaguefication* for the sociology of education section to get a better idea of what kind of 10 mark ‘analyse’ questions might come up.
In case you don’t know (and you wouldn’t know this unless you’ve been on a course run by the AQA) a 10 mark ‘analyse’ question will take any aspect from any two of the bullet points in the AQA’s specification and ask you to make the links between them (with reference to a small item)….
Now… IF you’re already aware of this, then you probably know that there’s four main topic areas listed under the education specification/ vagueficiation, hence it’s quite easy to think up some nice combination questions taken from across these four bullet points.
HOWEVER, this might not be the limit of 10 mark question combinations – because under the education section of the A-level specification/ vagueification there is also specific reference to the ‘6 core themes’ of socialisation, power etc… so this might open up the possible of an even greater array of 10 markers.
A few possible 10 mark analyse questions:
- Using material from Item A (remember there will be an item!) analyse two ways in which the functions of education have changed due to globalization.
- Using material from Item A, analyse two ways in which selection policies might have influenced the process of teacher labeling.
- Using material from Item A, analyse two ways in which the privatization of education has affected the way in which different ethnic groups experience school.
- Using material from Item A and elsewhere , analyse two criticisms of the view that the hidden curriculum in schools helps to reproduce economic inequalities in wider society.
- Using material from Item A and elsewhere, analyse two ways in which education policies might help overcome some of the disadvantages boys face as a result of gendered socialization practices.
I know some of these are just horrible, but remember, that the AQA has a burning hatred of all teenagers, and at least the above questions make sense, unlike some which have come up previously!
A reminder of the AQA’s specification for the education section of A-level paper one:
The study of the topics in this paper should engage students in theoretical debate while encouraging an active involvement with the research process.
The study should foster a critical awareness of contemporary social processes and change, and draw together the knowledge, understanding and skills learnt in different aspects of the course.
In their study of the topics, students should examine:
- topic areas in relation to the two core themes (socialisation, culture and identity; and social differentiation, power and stratification)
- both the evidence of and the sociological explanations for the content listed in the topic areas below.
Throughout, students should be encouraged to use examples drawn from their own experience of small-scale research.
Attention should be given to drawing out links with other topics studied in this specification
Students are expected to be familiar with sociological explanations of the following content:
- the role and functions of the education system, including its relationship to the economy and to class structure
- differential educational achievement of social groups by social class, gender and ethnicity in contemporary society
- relationships and processes within schools, with particular reference to teacher/pupil relationships, pupil identities and subcultures, the hidden curriculum, and the organisation of teaching and learning
- the significance of educational policies, including policies of selection, marketisation and privatisation, and policies to achieve greater equality of opportunity or outcome, for an understanding of the structure, role, impact and experience of and access to education; the impact of globalisation on educational policy.
*I prefer the term vagueification because this ‘specification’ doesn’t actually give us a precise idea about what might come up in the exam – nowhere in the above specification does it explicitly state you need to know (for example) about ‘Chinese’ students or ‘compensatory education’, yet these have both come up in previous exam papers. Thus this specification gives you a vague idea of what might come up, not a specific idea. To get a more specific idea, you need to spend a few years teaching or examining A level sociology, read the four main text books and and intuit the advice circulating about the content of A-level.