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Sociology paper May 2009
Section A: Education with Research Methods
(a) Explain what is meant by the term `compensatory' education. (2 marks)
Compensatory education is social policies first developed in America, where money is given to poorer
schools which can then help pupils in school who suffer from a lack of resources achieve better
(b) Suggest three material factors that might cause workingclass educational
underachievement. (6 marks)
Material factors include things like, a workingclass pupil not eating nutritional food which keeps a child
healthy and well. Therefore the malnourishment can lead to sick days off. Not being able to afford a
comfortable bed can lead to a child not sleeping well, affecting their work in class. And a lack of
resources like a computer and the internet helps children do work outside of school as well as inside,
helping them do better. Many workingclass pupils do not own a computer at home.
(c) Outline some of the reasons why different pupil subcultures exist in schools (12 marks)
The British sociologist Barry Sugarman described workingclass subcultures as, Fatalistic accepting
the situation rather than working to improve it. Presenttime orientated living for the moment rather
than planning for the future. Concerned with immediate gratification taking pleasures now rather than
making sacrifices for the future. And in comparison saw that middleclass subcultures were non
fatalistic, future time orientated and concerned with deferred gratification.
Paul Willis the Marxist sociologist saw this fatalistic attitude in the group of working class `lads' he was
studying. He saw that Subcultures are based on your expectations and ambition. The parents of the lads
didn't encourage them to do well or expect greatness from life, so this made their children too accept
where they were and messed about to keep themselves happy. Other student `the ear'oles' were
determined to go places and therefore created a subculture in which they try hard and achieve good
grades to get out of the life they were currently in.
(d) Using material from Item A and elsewhere assess the claim that `the main function of
education is to maintain a value consensus in society' (20 marks).
Emile Durkheim identified two main functions of education creating social solidarity and teaching
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Because of the ethical issues Overt participation is preferred, as pupils need protecting and could tell
the researcher things that could get them into trouble like stealing from the school. A problem with the
teacher not knowing why they are being researched, could cause paranoia and upset once the research
is out in the open putting both the researcher at risk and the teacher, as parents may turn against them.
(a) Explain what is meant by the term `triangulation'.…read more
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Interpretivists disagree and argue official statistics are bad, and argue they are not `facts' and they do
not represent some objective reality in the real world. They say the job of a sociologist is to discover the
meanings and how they are constructed. For example the sociologist Durkheim didn't use statistics to
explain why people commit suicide, Instead he asked why certain kinds of death are defined as suicide.…read more