Faculty of Humanities

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National 4/5 Modern Studies

In the National Modern Studies course, pupils develop their understanding of the principles of democracy, social and world issues. The course helps pupils to develop an understanding of the current political climate and appreciate the inequalities that those in Scotland and the rest of the world may face.

Aims of the course

Pupils undertaking to study Modern Studies in the Broad General Education and in the National Qualifications will develop:

  • A range of research and information-handling skills including: evaluating information/evidence in order to support and oppose a view; making decisions and drawing conclusions; constructing detailed arguments; communicating views, opinions, decisions and conclusions based on evidence.
  • A detailed understanding of the democratic process.
  • A detailed understanding of social and economic issues at local, Scottish, national and international levels.
  • Ways of addressing needs and inequalities and how effective they are.
  • An understanding of a world power: the political system as well as the social and economic inequalities that people face.

Pupils will experience:

  • Active, collaborative and independent learning
  • A blend of classroom approaches: whole class, small group or one to one discussions; direct interactive teaching
  • Space for personalisation and choice: Assignment topic choice
  • Collaborative learning: through discussion/debate; in groups, researching a topic and sharing findings with the class
  • Applying learning
  • Embedding literacy skills: selecting and assessing information, presenting findings; evaluating; debating; listening; reading; writing

Course Content

Political Unit: Democracy in the UK

During this unit pupils will study power and decision-making at UK level. Pupils will develop an understanding of the features of a democratic society, how power is distributed in the UK, how people can participate politically and what groups can influence the political process. Furthermore, pupils will study the election and role of representatives in the UK as well as the limits on representation.

Social Issues Unit: Crime and the Law

Pupils will explore the rate of crime in Scotland and the UK and will have a good understanding on the different types of crime committed, the causes of crime and the impact crime can have on individuals and society. Pupils will then go on to develop an understanding of the measures taken to tackle crime from a variety of groups including the government, the police, the courts and the prison system.

World Power Unit: The USA

Throughout this unit pupils will develop a good understanding of the US political system and how citizens can participate in decision-making in the USA. The unit will also cover how the USA has an influence on other countries in the word in terms of political, economic, military and cultural influence. Finally, pupils will investigate the social and economic inequalities that exist in the US, what the government has done to tackle these and how effective these measures have been.

Conditions of award

National 3

To achieve the National 3 Modern Studies Course, pupils must pass all of the required Units. National 3 Courses are not graded.

National 4

To achieve the National 4 Modern Studies Course, learners must pass all of the required Units, including the Added Value Unit National 4 Courses are not graded.

National 5 Exam Breakdown

 Component   Marks  Duration
 Assignment  20  1 Hour
 Exam  80  2 Hours 20 Min