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Inverkeithing
High School

Modern Studies

Welcome to the Modern Studies Department!

 

 STAFF LIST

Miss Dempster

Mr Macmillan

Mrs Taylor

Miss McGhie

 

Below you will find information about the National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher Modern Studies Course. We have also shared a number of photos from the various trips that we have run to HMP Perth, The Scottish Parliament and London. 

 

NATIONAL 5 MODERN STUDIES:

Modern Studies is the social and political study of local, national, and international issues. Pupils study 3 units which cover politics, sociology, and international relations –
  • Democracy in Scotland
  • Crime and Law
  • World Issues: Development in Africa

 

Entry to the Course

It would be expected that pupils either progress from Level 4 in S3 or have a National 4 pass in Modern Studies or another social subject.  

 

Assessment

The course is made up of 2 different assessments –

  • Exam (80 marks/80%): pupils have 2 hours and 20 minutes to answer 3 sections – 1 for each unit they study.
  • Within each section there are 3 knowledge and understanding questions which are worth either 4, 6, or 8 marks. These allow pupils to show what knowledge they have learned. There is also a skills question in each section. The 3 skills are: drawing and supporting conclusions, making and justifying a decision, and finding evidence to support and oppose a given viewpoint. Each of these questions includes 3 sources of information and pupils will engage with these sources before writing their answers.

 

  • Assignment (20/20%):
  • Pupils select a Modern Studies issue, create 3 aims, and research to find the answers to these. They will then organise this research into the style of a report which evaluates the suitability of their research methods, details their findings, and reaches a conclusion about their topic. This report is written up under exam conditions in 1 hour in November/December.

 

 

 Units Studied

  • Democracy in Scotland: pupils start by learning about the features of democratic societies, powers which are devolved to the Scottish Parliament, and the roles and powers of the First Minister. They then progress to looking at the opportunities which exist for individuals to participate in our democracy and evaluate the different methods of campaigning used, analysing the influence of the media, and the aims and methods of trade unions. After this pupils will learn about the role of MSPs, representation of women and BAME people in Scottish politics, and the purpose of committees in the parliament. Lastly they will study strengths and weaknesses of the additional members’ system used to elect MSPs.

 

  • Crime and Law: this unit starts by exploring the nature and extent of crime in Scotland and the UK and the different ways that we know crimes exists such as official statistics and victims surveys. Pupils then progress to understanding the social, economic, and biological causes of crime as well as examining the consequences of crime on: perpetrators, victims, families, communities, and wider society. The criminal justice system is the next topic and this includes learning about criminal courts as well as the Children’s Hearing System. Finally pupils learn about and evaluate the successfulness of different responses to crime including the police, government responses, prison, and alternatives to prison.

 

  • World Issues – Development in Africa: this unit engages pupils in learning about the significant international humanitarian issue that is underdevelopment in sub-Saharan Africa. Pupils start by identifying the political, social, and economic causes of underdevelopment before learning about the consequences that this has on those who are immediately affected, the surrounding countries, as well as the wider international consequences. After this, pupils examine the attempts at resolving underdevelopment by UN agencies, as well as by NGOs and evaluate the success and failures of these organisations and the reasons for these successes and failures.

 

Skills Developed

  • Being able to explain key factors relating to the units studied
  • Demonstrating knowledge and understanding of the content studied
  • Analysing and synthesising a wide range of information to draw and support conclusions; to identify information which supports and opposes a viewpoint; and to make and justify a decision
  • Working in groups
  • Researching and being able to identify trustworthy sources from online
  • Debating and being able to construct logical arguments

 

Home Learning

To do well in Modern Studies it is essential to have a good knowledge about what is going on in the world today. We encourage all of our pupils to be engaging with good quality news sources and to watch relevant documentaries to enhance their experience and enjoyment of Modern Studies. Some other good opportunities include –

  • Visiting the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh – this is free, however it is recommended to book your visit in advance (http://www.parliament.scot/visitandlearn/93300.aspx)
  • Visit a court – anyone over the age of 14 can sit in on court trials. The nearest court to IHS is Dunfermline Sheriff Court

 

Progression

With a pass at National 5 Modern Studies pupils can continue their studies at Higher level.

 

    

 

HIGHER MODERN STUDIES 

 

Modern Studies is the social and political study of local, national, and international issues. Pupils study 3 units which cover politics, sociology, and international relations –

  • Democracy in Scotland and the UK
  • Social Inequality
  • World Powers: USA

 

Entry to the Course

It would be expected that pupils have an A – C pass at National 5 Modern Studies; or a Higher pass in English or another social subject.

 

Assessment

The course is made up of 3 different assessments –

  • Exam – Paper 1 (52 marks/47%):
  • Pupils have 1 hour and 45 minutes to write 3 essays; one for each unit of the course. Two of these essays are worth 20 marks and one is worth 12 marks. The 12 mark essay is not attached to any particular unit.

 

  • Exam – Paper 2 (28 marks/26%):
  • This is the skills question paper and pupils have 1 hour and 15 minutes to answer 3 skills questions. They are presented with a number of sources and have to: evaluate the objectivity of a viewpoint, reach 4 conclusions about different topics; assess the reliability of the given sources.

 

  • Assignment (30 marks/27%):
  • Pupils select a Modern Studies issue which has a number of different possible responses or solutions and research the suitability of these responses. They will then organise this research and their analysis into a report. In November/December time pupils will write up their findings in 1 hour and 30 minutes under exam conditions.

 

 Units Studied

  • Democracy in Scotland and the UK: Pupils will assess the possible implications of Brexit, the extent to which MSPs and MPs are able to hold the government to account, the different systems of electing politicians in the UK (such as the additional members’ system and first past the post), factors which influence voting behaviour, and the success of pressure groups in influencing decision makers.

 

  • Social Inequality: This unit starts will a case study of child poverty and gender inequality, looking at the causes and consequences of these before evaluating the success (or lack of success) in responding to these/ Pupils will then examine the causes, consequences, and responses to health and wealth inequalities.

 

  • World Powers – USA: Pupils will learn about the extent to which the USA political system allows democratic participation, the different branches of the USA political system and how these allow for checks and balances, inequalities faced by minority groups in the USA and evaluate the effectiveness of government responses to these inequalities, as well as the influence which the USA has on the international stage.

 

 

Skills Developed

  • Essay writing skills including how to structure an essay and sustain a consistent line of argument
  • Analysing factors and explaining their impact and consequences
  • Evaluating the overall importance of different factors and using evidence to support this evaluation
  • Analysing, evaluating, and synthesising a wide range of information to detect and explain the objectivity of a viewpoint; to draw and support conclusions; and to assess the degree of reliability of sources of information

 

Home Learning

To do well in Modern Studies it is essential to have a good knowledge about what is going on in the world today. We encourage all of our pupils to be engaging with good quality news sources and to watch relevant documentaries to enhance their experience and enjoyment of Modern Studies. Some other good opportunities include –

  • Visiting the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh – this is free, however it is recommended to book your visit in advance (http://www.parliament.scot/visitandlearn/93300.aspx)
  • Visit a court – anyone over the age of 14 can sit in on court trials. The nearest court to IHS is Dunfermline Sheriff Court

 

Progression

With a pass at Higher Modern Studies pupils can continue their studies at Advanced Higher level. It is also a very well respected subject for employment and further and higher education because of the skills in essay writing, analysis, and evaluation that it developed.

 

   

 

  

 

 

ADVANCED HIGHER MODERN STUDIES

 

Modern Studies is the social and political study of local, national, and international issues. At Advanced Higher levels pupils study Law and Order which includes 3 sections –

  • Understanding Criminal Behaviour
  • Responses by Society to Crime
  • Research Methods and Issues

 

Entry to the Course

It would be expected that pupils have an A – C pass at Higher Modern Studies.

 

Assessment

The course is made up of 2 different assessments –

  • Exam (90 marks/64%):
  • Pupils have 3 hours to answer 2 essays (one on understanding criminal behaviour, and one on responses by society to crime) and 2 research methods questions worth 15 marks each. The research methods questions require pupils to evaluate the advantages, disadvantages, and ethical considerations in response to a specific research method(s), and then assess the extent to which a given source is trustworthy.

 

  • Dissertation (50 marks/36%):
  • This is largely an independent piece of work – guided by a teacher who will be their supervisor – where pupils will select a relevant law and order issue and undertake research on this and write this up into a 5,000 word dissertation. This is submitted to the SQA before Easter. To do well in this component, pupils must undertake primary research by contacting experts in their area of study such as academics, politicians, charities, prisons, etc.

 

 Units Studied

  • Understanding Criminal Behaviour: pupils learn about the social construction of ‘crime’ and examine different definitions and perceptions of this, as well as looking at the different ways crime is measured such as official statistics, victim, and offender surveys. We then move on to evaluating the contemporary relevance of theories of criminal theories including physiological, psychological, and sociological theories. Lastly we analyse the social and economic impact of criminal behaviour on victims, perpetrators, families, and wider society.

 

  • Responses by Society to Crime: this unit begins with a study of the contemporary relevance of theories of punishment including rehabilitation and retributivism, then progresses to exploring preventative responses to crime such as policing strategies, early interventions, and multi-agency approaches. Pupils will then learn about prisons and analyse the extent to which prisons meet their aims, as well as evaluating the success of alternatives to prison.

 

  • Research Methods and Issues: pupils learn about a wide variety of social science methodology, assessing the advantages and disadvantages of these methods as well as any ethical implications relating to them. They will also learn how to assess the trustworthiness of a variety of research sources such as official statistics and media outputs.

 

Skills Developed

  • Analyse the complex political and social processes that lead to an understanding of contemporary society
  • Understand and analyse complex political or social issues in the UK and adopt a comparative international approach
  • Develop a range of independent practical research skills that allow them to carry out research into a contemporary issue
  • Present complex ideas in a range of ways
  • Analyse, evaluate, and synthesise a range of sources relating to complex issues
  • Develop a knowledge and understanding of social science research methods
  • Apply a multidisciplinary approach drawing on analysis from a range of social sciences

 

Progression

With a pass at Advanced Higher Modern Studies many pupils continue their studies at college and university in courses such as Law, Criminology, Sociology, Politics, Economics, Social Policy, International Relations, etc. It is a very well respected qualification due to the skills developed in writing essays and producing a dissertation.