AQA Unit 2 AS Sociology - Education (Detailed revision notes)

a detailed set of the entire section on education (without research methods)

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Class differences in achievement ­ EXTERNAL FACTORS:
Even when compared to Middle Class children with the same IQ, working-class children are:
Less likely to be found in nursery schools
More likely to be poor readers when they start school
More likely to be in low sets and streams in secondary school
More likely to underachieve at GCSE and A Level
Less likely to go to university
More likely to leave school early
More likely to be excluded and suspended
EYSENK: suggests that working class children have lower innate intelligence than m/c children
Intelligence is inherited from parents which explains the child's educational performance
and the lowly social status of their parents
Intelligence is a cultural construct
Most regard factors such as poverty and time spent in school as far more meaningful than
raw IQ scores
Explaining class differences:
A popular explanation for class differences is that better off parents can send their child to
private school
Although these schools only educate 7% of Britain's children, nearly all (over 90%) go on
to university and account for over half of all Oxford/Cambridge students.
BUT...this does not explain difference with STATE education.
Cultural deprivation:
A number of studies have argued that the values, attitudes and aspirations of parents have an
important effect on their children's educational success
Cultural deprivation is the theory that many w/c and black children are inadequately
socialised and therefore lack the `right' culture needed for educational success
There are three main aspects of cultural deprivation:
Intellectual Development
The development of thinking an reasoning skills (e.g. ­ to solve problems and use
Cultural deprivation theorists argue that many W/C homes lack the books, educational
toys and activities that are needed to stimulate and develop intellectual skills
DOUGLAS: W/C pupils scored lower on tests of ability than M/C pupils because their
parents were less likely to support their intellectual development through reading or
other educational activities in the home.
BERNSTEIN AND YOUNG: M/C mothers are more likely to choose toys that encourage
thinking and reasoning skills to prepare them for school

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BEREITER AND ENGELMANN: claim that the language used in lower-class homes is
deficient: communicate by gestures, single words and disjointed phrases
As a result, children fail to develop the necessary language skills, growing up to
be incapable of abstract thinking or use language to compare, describe and
explain. And so cannot take advantage of the opportunities that school offers.
BERNSTEIN: two types of speech code that differ between classes.…read more

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Operation Head Start: Multibillion dollar scheme of pre-school education in poor areas
introduces in the 1960s in the US. Its aim was `planned enrichment' of the deprived child's
environment to develop learning skills and instil achievement motivation. It included
improving parenting skills, setting up nursery classes, home visits by health visitors and
educational psychologists and intensive learning programmes
Sure Start Programme: a British government policy introduced in 2000 aimed at pre-school
children and their parents. Its aim was to tackle poverty and social exclusion.…read more

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­ development can be impaired through lack of
space for safe play and exploration (direct)
families living in temporary accommodation may move more frequently, and
therefore children will change schools more often, disrupting their education (direct)
it may affect the child's health and welfare ­ crowded homes create a greater risk of
accidents and temporary accommodation may cause psychological distress,
infections and accidents, leading to more absences (indirect)
Financial support and the costs of education:
Lack of financial support means that children from poor families…read more

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Gives m/c children advantages in school ­ these abilities are valued and rewarded with
qualifications (education system favours and transmits m/c values ­ w/c children find
school devalues their culture as inferior so their lack of cultural capital leads to failure.
Many w/c pupils `get the message' that education is not for them, and so respond by
truanting, early leaving or not trying)
Educational and economic capital:
BOURDIEU: educational, economic and cultural capital can be converted into one another
(e.g.…read more

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Class differences in achievement ­ INTERNAL FACTORS:
To label someone meant to attach a meaning or definition to them, often based on
stereotyped assumptions about them
BECKER: carried out an interactionist study of labelling based on interviews in 60 Chicago
high school teachers - found that they judged pupils according to how closely they fitted the
image of an `ideal pupil'.…read more

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Fast learners were labelled as `tigers', often middle-class and of neat appearance ­
seated at the table nearest to her and encouraged them more
The other two groups were labelled as `cardinals' and `the clowns'.…read more

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Differentiation ­ the process of teachers categorising pupils according to how they
perceive their ability, behaviour and/or attitude.…read more

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Exam league tables lead to `A-C economy' ­ because of this, teachers focus time, effort
and resources on those pupils they perceive as having potential to gain A-C ­
educational triage
Educational triage:
Educational Triage
Those who will pass anyway Borderline C/D pupils ­ Hopeless
targeted for extra help (potential to do well)
Who gets left behind?
>teachers notions of `ability' to sort pupils and usually its w/c and Black pupils who are labelled as
lacking ability
As a result, they are labelled…read more

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Explaining it:
Some sociologists look towards factors within a school whilst others look outside of the school
But be aware...
Explaining the ethnic differences in attainment is difficult
This is because of changes over time
Changes at different levels of the education system ­ e.g. ­ many African boys
attainment dips during secondary education but improves after compulsory school
(higher and further education)
Cultural deprivation:
BOWKER: lack of SE is a major barrier to progress in education and integration into wider society.…read more



great job with the notes! Thank you so much! :D

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