Below I’ve reformatted the examiners report for the 2018 A-level sociology exam, paper 2 (families and households section) into bullet points and included the exam questions.
This is really just designed to make this more user friendly!
This advice is taken straight from the AQA’s examiner report on the sociology A-level exam 2018.
Families and Households 2018 Questions and examiner commentary
Outline and explain two ways in which government policies may affect family structure. [10 marks]
- There was a tendency to go into detail about the chosen policies rather than to discuss effects on family structures.
- Some answers assumed an effect and did not take the opportunity to use their sociological understanding to explore the ideas in greater depth. For example, some answers said that changes to divorce laws increased the number of lone parent families, but few discussed increases in reconstituted families or bi-nuclear families.
- Similarly the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act of 2013 was recognised as increasing the number of same sex married couples but also led to same sex divorces, changes in adoption, surrogacy and so on.
Applying material from Item C, analyse two ways in which demographic trends since 1900 may have affected the nature of childhood in the United Kingdom today. [10 marks]
- Many answers went into reasons for the demographic changes referred to in the item rather than focus on effects on childhood.
- Others discussed childhood a hundred years ago or earlier.
- However, many did develop points about child centeredness by looking at its positive consequences for childhood and then developing this to link it to over protectiveness, age patriarchy, pester power, toxic childhood and so on.
- Similarly, the presence of grandparents was in better answers not merely described but analysed as to how it could be both positive and negative in contributing to socialisation and childcare and in adding to the burden of care for the family with some children becoming young carers.
- Better answers were distinguished by, as the mark scheme says, ‘developed applications’, going beyond the immediately apparent.
Applying material from Item D and your knowledge, evaluate the view that individual choice in personal relationships has made family life less important in the United Kingdom today
- Many answers discussed changes in family life such as divorce, cohabitation, same sex marriage and gender roles in terms of greater choice but few explored whether these developments made family life more important or less important.
- More developed analysis showed how diversity did not always lead to less importance being given to family life, importance of a changed form of family life. Functionalism and the New Right were often included but, sometimes with Marxism, described rather than being applied to the question.
- There was a shortage of postmodernist views in addition to choice and diversity. Better answers referred to pure relationships, confluent love, negotiated families and alternative life courses.