AS Sociology Unit 2 Past Paper

Hope this gives some idea of what to look for in an exam paper, my answers aren't perfect but I hope they are of a good standard.

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  • Created on: 10-05-10 17:37
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AQA Sociology Unit 2 Monday 18th May 2009
1. a) Explain what is meant by the term `compensatory education' (2 marks)
This involves schemes that aim to provide educational opportunities for disadvantaged groups of
people by offering them additional resources and extra-curricular activities e.g. breakfast clubs.
b) Suggest three material factors that might cause working-class educational underachievement. (6 marks)
The home environment is one material factor that can influence the underachievement of working
class because a crowded home may cause lack of concentration or completion of work. Also they
may become ill because of poor living conditions causing low attendance at school. As well as low
income working class families may cause underachievement as they can't afford to by resources for
school or pay for educational school trips.
c) Outline some of the reasons why different subcultures exist in schools (12 marks)
Subcultures are believed to be as a result of labelling, they can be negative or positive, and lead to a
self-fulfilling prophecy of failure or success. Anti-school subcultures may be as a result of racism in
schools from the teachers or peers, so ethnic minority students choose to rebel and disobey
authority creating their own norms and values that are different from the rest of the school. This
means they may not complete work, and could become truant. Pro-school subcultures may be
formed as a result of positive labelling; some students for example middle class, are expected to do
well because of their social class so they are automatically deemed as the clever, the teachers praise
them and encourage them to work hard and participate in lessons so these subcultures have
conformist norms and values meaning they may abide to authority, the school rules and desire to be
successful in education.
Peer pressure may cause subcultures to form as it is seen to be cool to be part of a group that either
rebels or works hard. So as other students conform these subcultures grow and they may be
sectioned off and form a different subculture, where they may work hard but not like the way the
school is run, or they may mind their own business and not participate in class discussions or go on
school trips etc and the subcultures become broken down depending on what norms and values are
created by students. These subcultures exist in school because there is inequality due to social class,
ethnic minority, what family they live in and then different labels are attached to the students by
teachers and peers who may not intend to, but in that process it leads to different subcultures being

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Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess the claim that `the main function of education is to maintain
a value consensus in society' (Item A, lines 7-8). (20 marks)
The claim, `the main function of education is to maintain a value consensus in society' is believed by
the Functionalists, value consensus can be defined as agreed social values vital to the maintenance of
society. The norms and values are seen to be reflected in education because of the stressed
importance of consensus.…read more

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EITHER i) participant observation
OR ii) questionnaires (20 marks)
i) A participant observation is ethnographic, meaning this research method studies the culture, way
of life in society, in this case the attitudes of teachers in the classroom towards ethnic minority
students. This type of observation involves the researcher taking part in the activities with the
students or teachers to find out the reasons behind certain behaviours.…read more

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Explain what is meant by the term `triangulation'. (2 marks)
Triangulation is the combination of more than one method to increases the validity of the research.
E.g. combining and observation, questionnaire and interview, enables you to compare the
data/information and conclude the best results.
b) Suggest one advantage and one disadvantage of a longitudinal study. (4 marks)
An advantage of a longitudinal study is being able to compare changes/trends over a certain period
of time e.g.…read more

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Another disadvantage may be seen as an advantage, but because official statistics are researched by
the government where their method may be trustworthy but the politicians could be bias as they
decide how to find out lots of different statistics and can manipulate the data. An example, is the
dark figure of crime which isn't accounted for because some people don't report certain crimes due
to being afraid it won't stand up in court and be proved or various other reasons.…read more


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