Modern Studies is about contemporary society and the place of the individual within society, from local, national and international perspectives. It is multidisciplinary as it involves the study of social, economic and political issues.
As Modern Studies is a subject that concentrates on current affairs it is always useful for pupils to access extra information outside of school.
In S3 we study three topics:
This unit looks at all aspects of crime and law throughout the UK. We look at why those who commit crime do so, consequences for the perpetrators and victims, the court system and the types of crime that can occur within the UK.
World Power: USA
This unit focuses on one of the world’s biggest superpowers – the USA. The unit will specifically look at crime in the USA, social and economic inequalities in the USA, immigration into the USA, terrorism within the USA and the political system of the USA.
Democracy in Scotland
This unit focuses on the political aspect of our democracy in Scotland. We focus on the work that pressure groups do and what they aim to achieve, the roles of MSPs in representing their local constituents, the different political parties and their key policies and powers of the First Minister.
National 4 & 5
The three units we study in National 4/5 are:
Crime and Law
Taking what we have looked at in S3, we take this unit of work further by deepening our understanding of what we have previously studied in S3. Furthermore, we look at the role and powers of the Children’s Hearing System, the purposes of custodial and non-custodial sentences and the government/police responses to crime.
Democracy in Scotland
Taking what we have looked at in S3, we take this unit of work further by deepening our understanding of what we have previously studied in S3. Furthermore, we look at the methods political parties use to campaign near election time, how we vote using different voting systems and the political rights citizens have in a democracy.
International Issue: Terrorism
In this unit, we focus on the causes of terrorism and why different groups commit attacks, the consequences of attacks on innocent civilians, countries and their governments, recent attacks that have happened around the world, responses from different international organisations towards terrorism and if these responses are successful or not.
Exam (2 hour 20 minutes): The exam assesses knowledge, understanding and analytical skills of each of the three topics above. Each section has three knowledge questions. Furthermore, there will be three skills questions asked- one conclusion, one support and oppose and one options. The question paper will be out of 80 marks.
This assignment will have 20 marks. Candidates will have 1 hour to write an extended piece of writing on one of the studied topics. This is submitted to the SQA for external marking.
Added Value Assignment: (National 4)
The pupils will research one topic of their choice from the any of the topics we have studied above. The pupils will produce a written assignment on their chosen topic.
In the higher course we study the following three units:
World power: USA
In this unit we look at: The extent to which the USA’s political system allows their citizens to take part in the democratic process, political institutions and their ability to dominate government decision-making, social and economic inequalities and which groups are more affected by these inequalities, government responses to these inequalities and the effectiveness of these responses and the USA’s international influence worldwide.
Democracy in the UK
In this unit we look at: Future governance options for Scotland, the potential implications of the UK’s decision to leave the EU, the opportunities for citizens to influence government decision making, the effectiveness of MPs to hold the government to account, the different voting systems we use to elect our representatives and the different voting behaviours of the British public.
Social Inequality within the UK
In this unit we look at: the different wealth inequalities within the UK, the different health inequalities within the UK, government responses to different social inequalities and the effectiveness of the responses, the groups that are more impacted by different social inequalities and finally the collectivism v individualism debate.
Paper I (1 hour 45 minutes)
Three essays based on issues studied. It will count for 52 out of 100 marks of the total external assessment.
Paper II (1 hour 15 minutes)
Source-based questions. Three skills questions will be asked, one conclusion, one objectivity and one reliability question. This paper, which will count for 28 out of 100 marks of the total external assessment.
This assignment will have 30 marks. Candidates will have 1 hour 30 minutes to write an extended piece of writing on one of the studied topics. This is submitted to the SQA for external marking.