sociology : education and families and households


Paper One Exam Structure:

  • 30 Mark

Intro: Short, outlining argument - e.g. gender differences down to wider

influences or internal/other factors?

First Paragraph: Focus on educational achievement (can split into 2 paragraphs)

‘As Item B states….at each age…’

Comment on external factors for both girls and boys and reference item again! Then say however other sociologists argue it could be down to other factors…(comment on internal/other factors)

Second Paragraph: Focus on subject choice (Can split into 2 paragraphs)

‘Item B states that there are major differences in subject choice….’

Split into external and internal factors- Gender role socialisation, gendered career opportunities- these are wider influences contrast with more internal factors- gender identity and peer pressure and gendered subject images.

Conclusion: The weight of evidence appears to suggest that…


Paper Two Exam Structure:


  • 10 Mark ‘Outline and Explain’

Firstly, A argues… Furthermore B… Therefore, ...

Firstly, C argues… Furthermore D… Therefore, ...

  • 10 Mark ‘Analyse’

Firstly, A shows… However, … On balance, ...

Firstly, B shows… However, … On balance, ...

  • 20 Mark ‘Evaluate’

Intro : Define, Compare, Hypothesis

First Paragraph : Firstly, according to A… One may comment… By contrast, B argues… One may comment… However, one may comment… On balance...

Second Paragraph : Secondly, according to A… One may comment… By contrast, B argues… One may comment… However, one may comment… On balance…

Third Paragraph : In addition, according to A… One may comment… By contrast, B argues… One may comment… However, one may comment… On balance…

Conclusion : The weight of evidence suggests… A may be correct… However, B may overstate the case that...

Paper One - Education


Topic One - Class differences in achievement - External factors

External factors - factors outside education system e.g. influence of family background


Cultural Deprivation


  • Affects children's cognitive development

  • Tait et al (2002) - where parents use language that challenges children's ability (e.g. ‘What do you think?’) cognitive performance improves

  • Feinstein (2008) - educated parents more likely to use language this way and use praise which encourages children to develop sense of own competence.

  • Bereiter and Engelmann (1966) - language used in lower class homes is deficient - therefore unable to take advantage of opportunities school offers.

Speech Codes

  • Bernstein (1975) - two types of speech code:

    • Elaborated code - (typically used by middle class as well as by teacher, exams and within textbooks) has wider vocab, communicating complex, abstract ideas therefore giving middle class children advantages within school

    • Restricted code - the opposite

Parents’ Education

  • Douglas (1964) - working class parents value education lower - less encouragement

  • Feinstein (2008) - middle class parents better educated - give their children more opportunities

Parenting Style

  • Less educated parents won't be as disciplined or encouraging - prevents child’s independence - poorer school motivation

Parents’ Educational Behaviours

  • Educated parents more aware of what child needs e.g. reading to them, songs, poems

Use Of Income

  • Better educated parents have better incomes and spend money in ways to benefit their children


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