AQA AS Sociology Unit 2: Education

My complete notes for the education topic

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  • Created on: 17-04-13 01:35
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Sanmeet Singh
Notes for Sociology
Class Difference in Achievement- External Factors
Explaining class differences
Social class background has a powerful influence on a child's chance of success in the
education system.
One explanation of class differences in achievement is that better off parent can
afford to send their children to private schools, which many believe provides a higher
standard of education.
Cultural Deprivation
Theorists believe that most of us begin with basic values, attitudes and skills which
are needed for educational success through primary socialisation.
According to cultural deprivation theorists, many working class families have failed to
socialise their children adequately which leads these children to grow up culturally
deprived which leads them to underachieve at school.
There are three main aspects of cultural deprivation:
Intellectual Development-. Theorists argue that many working class homes lack
the books, educational toys and activities that would stimulate a child's intellectual
development, thus children leave the home without developing intellectual skills
needed for progress. J.W.B. Douglass (1964) found working class parents are less
likely to support their children's intellectual development through reading to them-
leading them to do worse than middle class children.
Language- Bernstein (1975) talks about how there are two types of speech roles
between the working and middle class language. The Restricted Code is used by the
working class. It has a limited vocabulary and is based on the use of short,
grammatically simple sentences. The Elaborated Code is used by the middle class. It
has a wider vocabulary and is based on longer, more grammatically complex
sentences. Speech is more varied and communicates abstract ideas.
These differences give middle class children an advantage at school because the
elaborated code is the one used by textbooks and exams. Early socialisation into the
elaborated role means that middle class children are fluent uses of the code when
they start school thus they are more likely to succeed as they feel 'at home'.
Criticism of Bernstein- Critics argue that Bernstein finds the working class speech
to be inadequate, however unlike most cultural deprivation theorists, Bernstein
recognises that the school influences children's achievement. He argues that working
class pupils fail not because they are culturally deprived, but because schools fail to
teach them how to use the elaborated code.
Attitudes and Values- Theorists argue that parents' attitudes and values affect
education achievement. E.g. Douglas found that working class parents took less
interest in their education. As a result, their children had lower levels of achievement
motivation. A lack of parental interest in their children's education reflects the sub
cultural values of the working class.
Herbert Hyman (1967) argues that the lower class believe that they have less
opportunity for individual advancement and place little value on achieving high status
jobs, so they see no point of education (leave for manual work). Parents pass on the

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Sanmeet Singh
values of their class to their children through primary socialisation. Middle class values
equip children for success, whereas working class values fail to do this.
Compensatory education- is a policy designed to tackle the problem of cultural capital
by providing extra resources to schools in deprived areas. E.g. Operation Head Start in
the US which was a multi billionaire dollar scheme of pre-school education in poorer
areas introduced in the 1960s.…read more

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Financial support and the costs of education
A lack of financial support means that children from poor families have to miss out
on experiences that would enhance their educational achievement. Bull (1980) refers
to this as 'the costs of free schooling'.
Tanner (2003) found that the cost of items like uniform and transport puts a heavy
burden on poor families.…read more

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documentaries developed greater cultural knowledge thus a higher cultural capital.
These pupils were more likely to be successful at GCSE.
However, she also found that these students with greater cultural capital were more
likely to be middle class.
Gewirtz: Marketisation and Parental Choice
One example of how cultural and economic capital can lead to differences in
educational achievement is via the impact of marketisation and parental choice.
Sharon Gewirtz (1995) examined class differences in parental choice of secondary
school.…read more

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Ray Rist's study found that the teachers used information e.g. home background to
place them in separate groups. 'Tigers' were the fast learners and tended to be
majority middle class. They had a clean appearance and were given the greatest
'Clowns' and 'Cardinals' were seated further back and tended to be the working class.
They were given low level books and fewer opportunities to demonstrate their ability.…read more

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This creates the SFP in which pupils live up to their teachers' low expectations by
underachieving. By contrast, middle class pupils tend to benefit as they are closer to
the 'ideal pupil'.
Pupil Subcultures
A pupil subculture is a group of pupils who share similar values and behaviour
patterns. They often emerge as a response to the way pupils have been labelled.…read more

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Since Ball's study, the Education Reform Act (1988) has shown a trend towards more
streaming and towards a variety of types of school which creates new opportunites
for differentiation.
The variety of pupil responses
Peter Woods (1979) argues that there are other responses to labelling and
streaming other than Pro- and anti-school subcultures.…read more

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Sanmeet Singh
Competition and Selection
Marketisation also explains why schools are under pressure to select more able,
largely middle class pupils who will gain the school a higher ranking in the league
tables leading to even more able pupils joining the school thus increasing funding and
making the school popular. An increased popularity will enable the school to select
from a larger number of applicants and recruit the most able thus improving results
once again.…read more

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The DfES also tells us that within every ethnic group, the middle class do better than
the working class pupils.
They also tell us that among all groups other than Gypsy/Roma children, girls
outperform boys.
External factors and ethnic differences in achievement
Cultural Deprivation
Intellectual and Linguistic skills- Cultural deprivation theorists see the lack of
intellectual and linguistic skills as a cause of underachievement for minority children.…read more

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Working class people are more likely to face poverty and material deprivation.
Educational failure is a result of factors such as low income and substandard housing.
Flaherty argues that ethnic minorities are more likely to face these problems: For example:
Pakistanis and Bangladeshis are over three times more likely than whites to be in the
poorest fifth of the population.
Unemployment is three times higher for African and Bangladeshi/Pakistani people
than whites.…read more



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Stormy Music

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zahra abbas

really helped. thnx!

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