GCSE SOCIOLOGY Crime and Deviance; Mass Media; Power; Social Inequality Report on the Examination. (4190 Specification) June Version: 1.

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1 GCSE SOCIOLOGY Crime and Deviance; Mass Media; Power; Social Inequality Report on the Examination (4190 Specification) June 2013 Version: 1.0

2 Further copies of this Report are available from aqa.org.uk Copyright 2013 AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved. AQA retains the copyright on all its publications. However, registered schools/colleges for AQA are permitted to copy material from this booklet for their own internal use, with the following important exception: AQA cannot give permission to schools/colleges to photocopy any material that is acknowledged to a third party even for internal use within the centre.

3 General The quality of some of the responses seen in this series was an encouraging improvement on previous years. It is clear that schools and colleges are far more familiar with the requirements of the specification, and students are undoubtedly better prepared as a result. The great majority of scripts exhibited at the very least a basic degree of sociological understanding and there were some that demonstrated a grasp of fairly sophisticated material. Of particular note are the best responses to the twelve mark questions. These demonstrated a praiseworthy level of theoretical and conceptual understanding. There would appear to have been a shift away from the study of Mass Media to the study of Power, and to an extent this was reflected in the fact that, for many students, the Mass Media is now the topic about which they are least confident. Conversely it is pleasing to note that an increasing number of schools and colleges are following the advice in the specification and teaching all four topics. This not only ensures that students have a clear grasp of the impact of power across the other three topics, but also gives students a choice they would otherwise not have. Most students followed instructions and answered questions from three of the four topics. However, there is still a proportion of students who are breaching the rubric and answering all four topics. Unfortunately, this is increasing resulting in a decline in the quality of their overall answers. A small minority of students continue to misread the items, and some still write too much on questions carrying one or two marks. There is no need to answer item-based questions in full sentences if a single word or phrase will suffice, nor is it necessary to repeat the question in one s response. In questions carrying two marks, two short phrases or sentences will suffice, but it is important to ensure they contain sufficiently specific and relevant information, as some responses are too generalised and/or vague to gain any marks. There was a range of quality evident in responses to the four mark questions testing students understanding of a sociological concept. The key variable in quality was, quite simply, whether they had been taught it, since in most cases students either knew what the concept meant, and could write enough for at least two marks, or they did not. Students who struggled to respond to these questions often answered tautologically ( Globalisation is when the media is global ), and in many such responses it was difficult to find anything creditworthy. Schools and colleges should consult the glossary for each topic. This can be found in the teaching and learning resources (teaching guidance) section of the AQA GCSE Sociology web page. The quality of response to the five mark questions (which are collectively worth one third of the marks available on this unit) is without doubt the principal variable in the vast majority of scripts. Even the weakest students can normally access the 1-3 mark band on the mini-essay questions, but it is on the five mark questions that such students usually struggle to achieve a good mark. Some students still find it difficult to achieve the right balance between the two parts of the question, and many students continue to write at excessive length, wasting time and gaining no benefit to their final mark total. Many students fail to differentiate between the two parts of the question, often providing a series of points to address the Describe one way aspect, which then slides seamlessly into an equally rambling and often unfocused attempt to address the and explain part. Others spend far too long on the first aspect, and 3 of 10

4 provide either a cursory response, or no response at all to the second part. Schools and colleges may wish to note that students who had been properly prepared for these questions were almost invariably able to access at least four marks for the six five-mark questions on the paper. Finally, the overall quality of response to the twelve mark questions has once again improved. Many students are usually able to construct a response that will get them into the bottom of the 4-6 mark band on at least one mini-essay, often after they have struggled on the rest of the topic, and there were some outstanding examples of good practice, with many of these able students achieving marks in the top band. 4 of 10

5 Topic One - Crime and Deviance Students find this topic fairly accessible, and as a result a few spent too long answering the questions therein, usually to the detriment of the mini-essay in their third topic. Question 01 Generated few problems. Question 02 Generated few problems. Question 03 Responses to this question were largely accurate, though some students failed to score marks by identifying generic methods such as interviews, questionnaires, surveys, etc. Question 4 Almost all students could show some understanding of deviance. The majority were able to distinguish between an act which breached social norms, and one which broke the law and/or could give an example of deviant behaviour. Fuller responses often referenced the social construction/relativity of what is deemed to be deviant. Question 05 This was answered well by some students, usually via reference to either the socialisation of women or the opportunity to commit crime. However a large number of students chose to reinterpret the question into one on why men commit more crime than women, losing marks as a result. Some students made reference to the chivalry thesis without apparently realising that this might be an explanation as to why women appear to commit less crime than men. As with all the five mark questions, many students wrote at excessive length on the first Describe one part, which scores just two of the five marks available. Question 06 This was generally answered quite well, mostly via reference to ASBOs, and measures such as youth centres to take young people off the streets. Some students cited examples of initiatives from their locality, which we were happy to credit if they were appropriate. Schools and colleges should note that we would expect some elaboration of an acronym such as ASBO for both of the marks available in the Describe one part of the question. Question 7 Most responses to this question demonstrated reasonable understanding of the stereotyping issue, but unfortunately some answers descended into a critical attack about the relationship between the police and the black community/muslims in which sociological content was lost. Stronger responses maintained a sense of balance, for example examining reasons why certain minority ethnic groups might actually commit more crime or might be stereotyped as so doing, and/or examined concepts such as institutional racism, canteen culture, etc. 5 of 10

6 Question 08 Most students attempting this question were able to offer some information on the nature of relative deprivation and how it might impact on levels of crime. Thereafter, responses tended to slide into descriptive lists of other claimed causes of crime, in which the main variable was the number of explanations on offer. More focused answers looked, for example, at the impact of the media and consumerism on crime levels in different social groups, or tied this into contrasting theoretical positions. Topic Two Mass Media This topic was both the least popular and often the least effectively attempted. Whilst there were a few excellent scripts, a substantial number of students showed a general lack of knowledge and understanding across all questions other than 09 and 10. Question 09 This question provided students with no problems, with only a small number of incorrect answers. Question 10 This question provided students with no problems, with only a small number of incorrect answers. Question 11 Many students lost marks through a lack of precision or through rewriting the question into one on how the media and/or politicians influence the public s political views. A few simply identified types of media, with no explanation as to how politicians influence these, or use them to get a message across. Question 12 Most students showed little or no understanding of globalisation, often compounding this by tautological statements about the media being global. A few managed to gain one mark for a reference to something like across the world. Stronger answers usually developed via discussion of the impact of new media and/or global media conglomerates, but very few were able to access all four marks. Question 13 Almost all students were able either to describe a relevant media stereotype, or, more rarely, to explain a process such as symbolic annihilation. Unfortunately most answers did this at excessive length, often wandering into further examples of stereotypes, and either did not address the and explain part at all, or just made a passing comment at the end about the power of advertisers, reinforcement of public perceptions of the role of women, etc. Question 14 Responses to this question fell into two distinct categories those which explicitly related their answer to digital media, and those which made generalised points about the media as a whole. 6 of 10

7 Lots of students seemed to be quite unsure about the degree to which BBC is subject to government control, and, given the high profile of the issue, surprisingly few examined attempts to restrict access to websites considered dangerous to children. Better responses often provided good examples from other societies such as China and North Korea. Question 15 This question was reinterpreted by many students into one on ownership and control. Whilst some answers showed good understanding of pluralist and conflict positions on the issue of news construction, only a minority explicitly looked at the role of editors and journalists in any depth, usually referencing gatekeeping and/or news values. Another common approach was to translate the question into one on contrasting media effects models. The degree to which this actually linked into the construction of the news was mostly quite limited. Question 16 Answers to this question were variable in quality. Weaker responses largely consisted of descriptive accounts of the Jamie Bulger case and/or Bandura, with little or no attempt to address values and culture. As with question 15, many students saw the question as an opportunity to show their knowledge of media effects models, often ignoring the young people aspect altogether. Better answers normally examined the impact of the media (especially things like social networking) on young people and contrasted this with other agents of socialisation like the family, peers, school, etc.. Topic Three Power This topic was more popular than in previous series, and there was a marked improvement in the overall quality, albeit with some variations between individual questions. There was some good use of contemporary evidence and examples from students own localities, perhaps belying the notion that young people have no interest in politics. Question 17 This question posed very few problems, and again there were only a small number of incorrect responses. Question 18 This question posed very few problems, and again there were only a small number of incorrect responses. Question 19 This was also done well, and it is gratifying to note that most students are familiar with the concept of democracy. Question 20 Responses to this question fell into two distinct categories. Those who knew what a pressure group was produced responses that generally were better than those to the four-mark questions in 7 of 10

8 other topics, often achieving three or four marks through reference to different typologies and/or examination of how pressure groups operated. A minority though thought the term related to peer pressure, and gained no marks as a result. Question 21 The key variable in quality was the degree to which students addressed the notion of a group of employees, as opposed, for example, to individuals seeking promotion. The most complete responses (of which there were few) usually related this to joining/forming a union and/or taking collective action, and then explored issues around, for example, the skill scarcity of those involved, the degree to which some groups might attract public support and so forth. Question 22 Many students who answered the question were able to identify an example of a relevant action, usually citing Citizenship or initiatives such as young mayors. Some students made vague and/or general statements about lowering the age at which young people can vote without tying this to increasing participation. Some responses addressed the and explain aspect by superficial and often repetitive reference to the continued apathy of young people, but those which had used examples from their own locality were often able to provide a fuller and more balanced response. Question 23 This question was answered less well than the other mini-essay, primarily because students got carried away with descriptions of different policies to address the two social problems given in the question, and never really considered the notion of whether they were best dealt with by governments. Stronger responses usually looked at New Right and contrasting views. Very few responses looked at any social problems other than the two mentioned in the question. Question 24 There were some impressive responses to this question. Higher-end responses displayed excellent understanding of feminism and other perspectives, coupling this with examination of several areas of social life. Narrower responses tended to focus on the world of work and/or politics, with many taking the notion of continuing discrimination against women as a given, although some did contrast this with ways in which men might be relatively disadvantaged, eg, in child custody arrangements after divorce. Topic Four Social Inequality This section was less susceptible to the impact of rubric infringements than in previous series, but some students suffered time management issues as a result of writing to excess in earlier topics. Questions 25 This question was unproblematic for virtually all students. Question 26 This question was unproblematic for virtually all students. 8 of 10

9 Question 27 A large number of students experienced difficulties with this question; many students were obviously unclear as to what means-tested benefits actually were. A substantial number of responses looked at benefits as a whole, or made cursory, generalised statements like less expensive without offering any kind of clarification as to why this might be so. Question 28 This was done reasonably well, although a minority seemed to think the term under consideration was social mobility rather than social stratification. Most responses linked the concept to social class, though some were able to consider other variables, or look at other types of stratification (eg, the caste system). Question 29 & Question 30 Most students answered these two questions in a similar way. Students suffered from poor organisation and lack of focus. Students tended to see any question which has a link to social exclusion or life chances as an opportunity to put the actual question to one side and develop an answer at some length on the causes of poverty. Examiners were often forced into a notional cut and paste exercise in order to extract some reward from material of potential value, but whose relevance to the question was never really made explicit. Therefore, whilst most students knew which groups suffer social exclusion, and could identify a relevant life chance (or in most cases, two or three), relatively few addressed the and explain aspect of the two questions in a structured manner, and marks suffered accordingly. This problem has been highlighted in previous reports and schools and colleges are strongly encouraged to advise their students accordingly. There are two marks for the Describe one part of the question, and three for the and explain aspect. It follows that students who address the latter in a cursory, disorganised manner routinely lose two, and sometimes all three of the marks available. Question 31 This question generated some very good responses, with some students able to locate their responses in a quite sophisticated theoretical debate between New Right positions and those of their critics (usually Marxist). Many of these also broadened their responses through consideration of functionalist views on meritocracy and the functions of poverty. Less full answers were still able to contrast competing explanations for the existence of poverty at a more routine level, and virtually everyone who attempted this question was able to show some sociological knowledge at a basic level. Question 32 This question was also done quite well, albeit with more fairly superficial responses evident than for question 31. The question permitted examination of any age group, not just the elderly, and a substantial number of responses contrasted their position with that of young people. Most responses then usually looked at one or more of gender, class and ethnicity as a factor in inequality, often in a list-like, somewhat descriptive manner. Those answers that scored high marks were distinguished by their ability to compare the impact of these other factors to that of age in creating inequality. 9 of 10

10 Mark Ranges and Award of Grades Grade boundaries and cumulative percentage grades are available on the Results Statistics page of the AQA Website. Converting Marks into UMS marks Convert raw marks into Uniform Mark Scale (UMS) marks by using the link below. UMS conversion calculator 10 of 10

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