Opium for the masses

20th June 2008 at 01:00
Paper 1 in the Higher exam tested candidates' skills in using the information in sources to answer two questions - one worth six marks, the other 14
Paper 1 in the Higher exam tested candidates' skills in using the information in sources to answer two questions - one worth six marks, the other 14.

Paul Creaney, who teaches politics at St Ninian's High in Kirkintilloch, East Dunbartonshire, said that, unlike last year's exam, these were "to what extent?" questions. Pupils had to handle lots of statistics but they were "quite straightforward", he said.

The second paper was made up of three compulsory sections, each of which offered a choice of essay questions. The first was an analysis-type question on "The State and Power". It allowed pupils to take political theories and relate them to the work of Marx, Lenin and Hobbes in one option, the second focused on Max Weber's theories of legitimacy, and the third on liberalism and conservatism, bringing in Burke and Locke.

Section 2, on political structures, contained three options for candidates to compare and contrast aspects of the UK Government with the Scottish or United States political processes. It covered the full spectrum of the course, and was topical, given the US presidential elections.

Political representation was the theme of the third section, where topics included short and long-term influences on voting behaviour and the advantages and disadvantages of the additional member system. This section required a lot of detail.

Overall, Paper 2 covered every strand of every unit covered in the course. The exam contained no trick questions and should have been straight- forward, Mr Creany felt.

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