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Education and
Past Exam Essay Questions:
1(d)Assess the sociological explanations of ethnic differences in
educational achievement (20 Marks) ­ Jan 2006
1(d) Assess the sociological explanations for the educational
achievement of children from different ethnic groups (20 Marks) ­ Jan
1(d)Examine the ways in which processes within school may
contribute to educational underachievement among some ethnic
groups (20 Marks) ­ Jan 2008
1(d) Assess the claim that `ethnic differences in educational
achievement are primarily the result of school factors (20 Marks) ­ *
Jan 2009…read more

Slide 2

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Out of school
factors ­material deprivation
Swann Report
·Some minorities live in relative poverty ­ unemployment three
times higher for African and Bangladeshi/Pakistani people
·May experience a `doubling up effect' ­ ethnicity and social class
·White and Indian families tend to have a higher social class ­
why they do better in school
Gillborn and Mirza
·Social class does not override ethnicity factors
·Study students of the same social class but different ethnic
origins ­ still differences
·Middle class blacks do poorly at GCSE
*…read more

Slide 3

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Out of school factors
­ cultural deprivation
Ethnic minorities lack intellectual and linguistic skills
· Lack of intellectual stimulation and enriching experiences
· Poorly equipt for school, not developed problem solving and reasoning skills
· Different languages spoken at home
· English as a second language
Dysfunctional families
· Moynihan ­ black families headed by lone mother ­ live in relative poverty
and lack successful male role model
· Driver and Ballard ­ Asian family structures bring educational benefits ­
they have higher aspirations and are more supportive.
· Lupton ­ adult authority in Asian families similar to the school model e.g.
respectful to adults ­ Asian parents more supportive of school behavioral
Keddie ­ cultural deprivation ­ victim blaming explanation ­ black students
culturally different not culturally deprived ­ failure because school is
ethnocentric (bias in favor of whites)…read more

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Out of School
factors ­ Racism in wider society
· Rex ­ racism and discrimination leads to social exclusion
· Noon ­ Evidence of racism ­ sent pairs identical letters to 100
UK companies. Signed one Evans and other Patel ­
companies more encouraging to white candidates.
*…read more

Slide 5

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In School factors ­
labelling and teacher expectations
Swann Report
· `unintentional racism' ­ e.g. West indian
boys only good at sport
Gillborn ­ tried to treat fairly but viewed
them as different so treated them so
­ Afro Caribbean's seen as a threat when no
threat was intended ­ goes to explain high
levels of exclusions in this group
*…read more

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In School factors ­
Student responses and subcultures
· Fullers ­ London comp, black girls in year 11 ­ self
negating prophecy ­ refusal to accept label and pursue
educational success.
­ Did not seek teacher approval, only conformed where
schoolwork was concerned
­ Didn't give the appearance of working hard
­ Dealt with the demands of school and success but avoided
loss of respect and ridicule of other black students in lower
· Sewell ­ Boys secondary school, saw two groups of
black students
­ Conformists ­ eager to succeed, largest group
­ Rebels ­ Anti-school, broke rules, more visible and
influential but smaller
­ Teachers tended to see all black students in the same way
*…read more

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