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Inclusivity and accessibility at the heart of A Level Sociology

Our newly refreshed A Level in Sociology has inclusivity and accessibility at its heart. In this blog I’ll highlight the key areas of our new A Level specification, explain how and why our assessment models are changing and give an overview of our contemporary, engaging qualification. 

To have full visibility of our refreshed A Level in Sociology, including our draft specifications and the support available, please visit our dedicated webpage for OCR's refreshed A Level in Sociology.

Why are we making changes?

Back in 2022 we were lucky enough to receive a detailed review of our curriculum from Dr Anwesa Chatterjee and Dr Sarah Cant from Canterbury Christ Church University, in collaboration with the British Sociological Association (BSA). Findings suggested that our specification was well regarded by teachers; overwhelmingly described as contemporary, engaging, inclusive and interesting. 

Sociology is a dynamic and ever-changing subject, and we recognise the need to update our specification to reflect this. Being up to date, responsive and relevant is vital in our aim to be the most supportive exam board. Providing teachers with the opportunity to deliver modern and engaging topics is something you’ve told us you want. So, we’re pleased to share our new, diverse specification, which includes a range of key questions and optional contemporary units covering crime, youth subcultures and education, as well as mandatory units on globalisation, the digital world and culture and identity.

How did we do it?

Rigorously and meticulously is the easy answer. Over a period of 12 months, we’ve worked closely with stakeholders from across the subject community, including teachers, heads of department and principal examiners as well as representatives from the BSA. We wanted to make sure we got it just right.

What's new?

We’ve refreshed our content, keeping popular and contemporary topics such as gender and subcultures – as we know they’re engaging and relevant for your students. We’ve also added unique new content to our A Level in Sociology. 

Some highlights:

  • Aspects of identity such as non-binary and trans identities. 
  • Urban music subcultures and female subcultures. 
  • How sexuality and new gender identities are represented in the media. 
  • How countries in the global south may be used by transnational criminal groups and companies.
  • New methods of crime prevention.

In addition to the subject matter, we’ve revised our assessment structure. Accessibility has been the guiding principle in doing this. We want cognitive load to be reduced in the exams, so students can focus on showing us their knowledge and understanding of sociology. 

The assessment has been simplified to four question types which are uniform across the three papers. Each question type will be structured consistently and use familiar wording. As well as this we’re limiting source material to 200 words. We want to make sure you and your students can focus on the subject matter. 

You also told us you needed resources to get started with us, and more teaching materials to aid your delivery. Together with our publisher partners and online providers, we’re confident you'll have all the support you need to get started.

  • Our expert sociology subject advisors who are here to advise you, share updates and resources and invite you to training and networking opportunities. 
  • Detailed assessment guides to help you navigate the specification and its content. 
  • Comprehensive curriculum planners and schemes of work to support with planning and delivery. 
  • An extensive range of professional development courses, from getting started with us to exploring our exams and assessment materials. Discover more on our professional development page. 
  • New textbooks and teaching and learning resources from leading third parties and publishers. 
  • Active Results: our free results analysis service to help you review the performance of individual students or whole school. 
  • ExamBuilder: our free question-building platform that helps you to build your own tests as our bank of past live-series questions grow.

Stay connected

If you have any questions, email us at sociology@ocr.org.uk, call us on 01223 553998 or tweet us @OCR_Sociology. You can also sign up to subject updates and receive the latest information about resources and support.

About the author

Tom is overseeing sociology as well as the exciting upcoming criminology AAQ. Previously, he was a teacher for 11 years which included various roles in teaching and middle management leading to his last role, as Head of Human Sciences. In his spare time, he enjoys playing sport, watching crime documentaries and playing with his two sons.

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