N3/4/5 Modern Studies (S4)

Course Overview


National 4/5 has replaced Standard Grade and Intermediate 1/2. The courses offer progression from the Broad General Education of S1-3 and are designed to develop pupils' skill in a variety of contexts. The content provides a broad understanding of key themes in the Modern World.

The department also offers National 3 Modern Studies for pupils struggling to access National 4/5.  Pupils work at the level most suited to their needs and career aims.

National 5 is ideal preparation for progression to Higher level in S5/6.

Pupils will study 3 topics; 1 World Power, 1 Social Issue, 1 Democratic Process. 


A wide range of approaches to teaching and learning are used.  Pupils are expected to organise and maintain their own folder of work, which acts as course notes and material for revision.  Pupils are engaged in a range of activities including; group work, presentations, whole-class discussion and debate, independent research tasks, as well as more traditional written work.


Course Content

 Pupils will study 3 topics:

World Power

South Africa

    • South Africa as a G20 country
    • Social Issues in South Africa
    • Economic Issues in South Africa
    • Political Issues in South Africa

Social Issue

Crime & Law in the UK

    • Extent of crime
    • Causes of crime
    • Impact of crime
    • Ways of tackling crime

 Democratic Process

Scotland's Democracy

    • Devolution & post-devolution - powers
    • Parliament & MSPs
    • Local Government
    • Pressures on the government



National 5 is the only level to have an external exam.  Pupil will have 1 hour 45 minutes to complete questions on all three topics studied (20 marks on each).  Pupils will also have to sit the ‘External Assignment', which is worth 25% of their final grade.  Pupils will also have to pass all National 5 Unit Assessments to sit the final exam. Pupils will be graded from A-D.

National 4 has No external exam.  Pupils will, however, have to pass all National 4 Unit Assessments as well as the ‘Added Value’ unit to gain an award.  Pupils will receive a pass or fail for the year.

Added Value Unit

All pupils will undertake an ‘Added Value’ unit. Pupils who are sitting National 5 will prepare a piece of extended writing (approximately 1000 words) on a question of their choosing. They sit the assignment under exam conditions and it is marked externally by the SQA. Pupils sitting National 4 will have their work internally assessed and the evidence of assessment can be presented in a variety of forms.

Pupils are assessed through a variety of methods including; classwork, homework, end of unit tests.  All of these are recorded centrally by the teacher and are regularly monitored by the Principal Teacher.


Homework tends to be preparation for the assessments, and is in the form of traditional written exercises.  Pupils can expect a piece of formal homework every 2-3 weeks, although this may increase in the period leading up to May.  The department is currently working on a homework booklet for each of the three units.

Recording & Reporting

Target setting is a key part of the course and pupils are involved in setting target from the start.  Feedback is always focused on how to improve and teacher-pupil conversations are regular.  Grades are monitored by the Principal Teacher on a monthly basis, and any concerns are discussed at Departmental Meetings.  Any causes for concern are communicated with parents through Support for Pupils.


Mr Tweddle/Mr Baxby

Mrs Spears