General Studies

 

Key Stage 4

General Studies is taught at Key Stage 4. Students attend one lesson per week. The focus of these lessons is on contemporary issues and encourages thinking across specialist subjects. Students will be given authentic and engaging source materials from a variety of media. They will learn to employ a range of techniques to assess different skills (multiple choice, short, extended and essay style questions). The subject is useful preparation for further education, work and life in general.

There is no coursework for General Studies. Instead there is a linear progression through various topics, leading up to two written exams at the end of the course. The Unit 1 exam lasts 1 hour 15 mins (it is worth 25% of the qualification). The exam focuses on questions assessing understanding of a pre-release Case Study a major on contemporary issue chosen by the exam board (AQA). The Unit 2 exam lasts 2 hours (it is worth 7 5% of the qualification). This exam takes the form of 30 Objective test questions testing data response/thinking skills; followed by short and extended-answer responses based on stimulus material; finally, students will answer extended-answer responses related to stimulus material.

Students are expected to keep up-to-date on contemporary social issues and ethical debates by consuming news media in print, on television and on line.

The topics studied at Key Stage 4 are as follows:

SOCIAL AND ETHICAL

  • Individual Responsibility
  • Morality
  • Religion
  • Social Diversity
  • Education
  • Censorship

SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL

  • Technological Developments
  • Environmental Issues
  • Health Education
  • Information Technology
  • Impact of Change
  • Mathematical Reasoning

ARTISTIC AND CULTURAL

  • The Arts
  • Sport and Leisure
  • Language
  • Media
  • Advertising

POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC

  • International OrganisationsWorld Trade
  • Consumer Rights
  • Human Rights
  • Legal Rights
  • Local and National Politics

Key Stage 5

Many students as Diss Sixth Form study General Studies as part of the school’s Enrichment Programme. The course is assessed by two exams taken at the end of the Year 12, and two at the end of Year 13.

Students will be assessed on two study areas at AS level (Unit 1: Conflict and Unit 2: Space). The Unit 1 exam is worth 25% of the overall qualification and is 90 minutes long. Students will be required to answer three structured essay questions. The Unit 2 exam, 90 minutes long and worth 25% of the A Level will require students to answer three questions based on data, images and prose.

Students will also be assessed on two study areas at A2 level (Unit 3: Power and Unit 4: Change). The Unit 3 exam is worth 25% of the overall qualification and is 2 hours long. Students will be required to answer three questions on four texts of different kinds. The Unit 4 exam, 2 hours long and worth 25% of the A Level will require students to answer two essay questions based on different texts.

Students can keep up-to-date on the latest contemporary issues through the department’s website. They will also attend a number of workshops which will deal with current social debates surrounding the various areas of study.

An example area of study for Unit 1 would be ‘Science & Technology’. Here students will be asked to explore questions such as: Why might scientific advancement be a cause for concern? Does technology cause as many problems as it solves? Do we take technology too far in health and medicine? Should we always do what science and technology make it possible to do?

An example area of study for Unit 2 would be ‘Beliefs & Values’. Here students will be asked to explore questions such as: What do we mean by multiculturalism? How and why should we celebrate our differences? Is ‘integration’ desirable? What is it to be ‘environment-friendly’? Are the great religions green?

An example area of study for Unit 3 would be ‘Arts & Media’. Here students will be asked to consider questions such as: How important is art to our identity? Does art have a civilising function? Can art change our minds or our behaviour? What dangers are there in a concentration of media ownership? Is journalistic objectivity possible or desirable?

An example area of study for Unit 4 would be ‘Society & Politics’. Here students will be asked to consider questions such as: What are the agents of social change? What significant social trends can be identified? What are the chances of social integration or of disintegration? Does the education system prepare students for occupational change? In what ways is society resistant or adaptable to change? What reforms of the political system appear to be called for? Is civil disobedience a legitimate way of bringing about reform?

 

General Studies

Diss High School

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