Answers to the AQA’s A-level sociology education with theory and methods exam, June 2018… Just a few thoughts to put students out of their misery. (Ideas my own, not endorsed by the AQA)
I won’t produce the exact questions below, just the gist…
Q01 – how marketization policies may affect social class differences in achievement (2 marks)
Difficulty – very easy
I would have gone with two aspects of marketization policy and then linked these to material and cultural factors which explain class differences
- E.G. more parental choice – linked to skilled choosers
- Formula funding – polarisation of schools – cream skimming/ selection by mortgage (bit of a mission but it would distinguish between the previous point!)
And then ideally explain how they differentially effect at least two ethnic groups.
Q02 – Three reasons for gender differences in educational achievement(6 marks)
Same topic as last year’s 6 marker…difficulty level very easy.
I would have gone for something like….
- Socialisation differences
- Teacher labelling
I would have discussed gender differences (between girls and boys) and then the different effects on educational achievements, clearly comparing males and females.
Then talk it through with ideally three example of different subjects, discussing both boys and girls.
Q03 – Analyse two ways in which education serves the needs of capitalism
Difficulty – fairly easy
NB – there was a lot in the item you could have discussed. The ‘hooks’ were really as follows:
- Capitalism being based on a wealthy minority owning the means of production
- Capitalism requiring people working in low-paid menial jobs
- Capitalism requiring workers to not rebel.
It follows that you want to develop using the following
Point one – Capitalism requiring people working in low-paid menial jobs – develop using correspondence principle, further develop with something about Private Schools and the elite class to contrast.
Point two – Capitalism requiring workers to not rebel – develop using ‘legitimation of class inequality, evaluate with Paul Willis.
Q04 Evaluate explanations of social class differences in educational achievement (30)
Difficulty – easy
Personally, I think you should have just ‘tweaked’ this essay plan accordingly, and made more of the links between out of school and in-school factors!
Q05 – the strengths and limitations of participant observation to investigate pupil exclusions
Difficulty – easy for a methods in context question!
As usual, get the method correct first – deal with the practical, ethical and theoretical problems of BOTH covert and overt. And as you go through, try to link to researching in school and the topic.
NB the item mentions poorer pupils and Gypsy Roma pupils, so plenty of specifics to pick up on with gaining access especially.
I will knock up a more thought out answer at some point soon, nice question this!
06 – Two problems with using Functionalism to understand society
Difficulty – easy
I actually covered this in this post – slightly different format, but enough material here for you to develop into a full mark answer to this question.
A-Level Sociology Revision Bundle
If you like this sort of thing, then you might like my sociology of education revision notes bundle – which contains the following:
- 34 pages of revision notes
- mind maps in pdf and png format – 9 in total, covering various topics within the sociology of education
- short answer exam practice questions and exemplar answers
- how to write sociology essays, including 7 specific templates and model answers on the sociology of education