Media isn't 'soft' option

22nd February 2008 at 00:00

There is no hard evidence to conclude that so-called "soft" A-levels, such as sociology and media studies, are any easier than their more traditional equivalents, according to a new study by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.

The findings will do little to settle long-standing staffroom disputes over which subject is hardest, although the study did suggest some might be harder or simply marked more harshly - including modern foreign languages.

The QCA reached its conclusions after conducting four separate studies over four years.

The report says: "There is little evidence that the A-level subjects sometimes described as `soft' subjects are any less demanding than more established counterparts."

The study found psychology A-level was "technically demanding" and on a par with biology. But it also found the standard of work by media studies students at A and E grades was slightly worse than that of English and history candidates.

Sociology was found to be potentially demanding, because of the need to ground judgements in complex academic theory, but in practice a "lenient" marking scheme meant that candidates could gain marks simply through common sense.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now