A2 Sociology
SY3 feedback 2010
Principal Examiner
Janis Griffiths
Statistical screening
• Purpose of screening
• Impact of screening on the
distribution of grades and grade
January series
• Larger entry for SY 3
• Mostly first time candidates
• Many very good responses.
January series - Options
• Understanding Crime most popular
• Few attempted Politics, but generally
• Very few attempted Health and
General observations
• Fewer rubric errors
• Better at time planning
• Misreading of questions apparent
• Misunderstanding of ‘how’ and ‘why’
• Tendency to lose the plot and revert to
‘all I know about ...’
January series SY3 Qu 1
• Some excellent answers with a range of
different crimes
• Many focused on white collar and
corporate crime
• Some wandered into long discussions
of the validity and reliability of the BCS
and lost their way
January series SY3 Qu 2
• Those who knew their theory did very well
on this, but many did not
• Limited evaluation of Marxism per se.
• Tended to run through all theories and say
at the end what they thought of Marxism
• Many wrongly attributed theorists
January series SY3 Qu 3
• Many wrote explanations of theories of the
link between ethnicity and crime without
considering the nature of that link in any
• Stephen Lawrence biographies appeared.
• Limited mention of White crime, Black on
Black or of victimisation of ethnic minorities
January series SY3 Qu 4
• Those who knew what pressure groups do
wrote very clear accounts.
• There was some confusion of pressure
groups with political parties
January series SY3 Qu 5
• Again, understanding of Marxism was very
weak in some cases.
• Limited reference to either ideology or
• Often only linked to voting
• The choice of weaker candidates?
January series SY3 Qu 6
• Very well handled.
• Limited evidence from studies, but lots of
examples of recent political activity and
reference to different social groupings
• Choice of better candidates?
June series
• Larger entries for SY3 but weaker on
whole. (Re-sit effect?)
• Larger entry than for previous series,
so centres new to WJEC coming on
• More English centres attracted to
January series - Options
• Understanding Crime most popular
• Fewer attempted Politics, but
generally good
• Bigger entry for Health and Disability
• Some candidates were not able to
think on their feet so answers are
tangential to question.
• Some odd interpretations of theory
were offered, especially for crime
and deviance.
Structuring answers
• Some weaknesses in the
organisation and planning of
Not defining key terms
Limited deployment of paragraphs
Limited use of evidence and AO 1
Dated studies
June series SY3 Qu 1
• Some excellent answers outlining the
three ways crime data is collected –
BCS, OCS and self-report
• Some wandered into long discussions
of research methods and failed to
address the question – missed the
significance of the term data.
June series SY3 Qu 2
• Those who knew their theory did very well
on this, but many did not and added long
descriptions of other theories justified by a
quick reference to Realisms.
• Limited evaluation of Realism (especially
strengths) – tendency to describe and then
leave evaluation as a final paragraph
June series SY3 Qu 3
• Polarisation of answers – some excellent,
many weak.
• Feminism not understood.
• Many wrote ‘ Why do men commit crime?’
• Some uncritical accounts of the increasing
violence of women
June series SY3 Qu 4
• Very few understood the notion of
devolution or even decentralisation.
• Those who did, described it well and gained
good marks
June series SY3 Qu 5
• Those who knew and understood pluralism
did well.
• Tendency to leave evaluation to final
June series SY3 Qu 6
• Few takers
• Most knew the features of a democracy but
there was little assessment or application of
that knowledge to the UK
June series SY3 Qu 7
• Very well handled by those who knew and
understood the notion of the sick role.
• The role of the doctor in allocating sick role
was not always appreciated
January series SY3 Qu 8
• Very well handled by those who understood
the debate.
• Choice of better candidates?
June series SY3 Qu 9
• This was very much the preferred choice.
• Wide range of answers of different
• Technical language used well.
• Limited reference to question of whether
the medical profession is a threat to health.
Improving performance
• Learn key terms – these are the
focus of questions
• Read the questions carefully, noting
commands and debates.
• Choose the appropriate question –
recognise that there is usually a
theory/debate dichotomy.
• Don’t leave evaluations to the end of
the essay
Special plea
• Computer written answers – many
are very difficult to read (small
cramped fonts etc)
• Please – double spacing and size 12
or 14 fonts. Serif fonts tend to be
easier than sans-serif for extended
For further information, please
contact the subject officer at the
Joanna Lewis
245 Western Avenue