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Education and
Social Class
Past Exam Essay Questions:
1(d) Asses the view that working class underachievement
in education is the result of home circumstances and family
background (20 Marks) ­ May 2005
1(d) Examine the ways in which factors and processes
within the school help to create social class differences in
educational achievement (20 Marks) ­ May 2006
1(d) Examine the ways in which home factors may affect
social class differences in educational achievement (20
Marks) ­ May 2008 *…read more

Slide 2

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Out of School
factors-Family Socialisation
Douglas ­ Parental interest
Feinstein ­ Working class parents have a lack of interest, causing
underachievement compared to Middle class who motivate,
discipline and support
Blackstone and Mortimore ­ Working class have less time and
have inflexible working, and find parent teacher interaction
Sugarman ­ Middle class, deferred gratification ­ give up short
term benefits for the long term rewards. Working class have
immediate gratification, `live for today'
Turner ­ sociologists ignore similarities and focus on the
differences.…read more

Slide 3

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Out of School
factors - Language
Bernstein ­ Success depends on language
Restricted code- `common' between family and friends,
limited vocabulary (BOTH classes)
This is often mistaken for low ability leading to a self fulfilling
Elaborated code ­ Strangers and formal interviews, wide
vocabulary ­ advantage in interviews and exams (JUST middle
class)…read more

Slide 4

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Out of School
factors ­Cultural Expectations
Cultural deprivation ­ Cut off from mainstream values
- Work doesn't reinforce knowledge required at home
- Working class lack important skills and attitudes
Brooks ­ `isolated from rich experiences' reading, trips etc..
Bourdieu ­ Middle class - educational capital (books and
tuition) attitudes, values, tastes, language
Sullivan ­ test for cultural capital, TV documentaries,
complex books,
- Middle class more successful at GCSE
*…read more

Slide 5

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Out of School
factors- Material deprivation
Douglas ­ working class, low wages and unemployment
Child poverty action group ­ housing conditions
Howard ­ poor nutrition of working class, attendance,
Wilkinson ­ lower social class, higher hyperactivity, anxiety and
disorders, negative impact on school life
Bull ­ cost of free schooling, lack of financial support, do without
Tanner et al ­ Transport, uniforms, equipment
However- never stated the cause
- Ignored cultural deprivation and socialisation
- Government have introduced EMA to try and combat this…read more

Slide 6

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In School factors ­
Labelling and teacher expectations
· Hargreaves ­ teachers label students on 7
factors including appearance and personality
­ students actions from then on seen in a
positive or negative light
­ Can also lead to a self fulfilling prophecy ­ tends
to be working classes
­ Rosenthal and Jacobson - play massive role in
educational attainment, spurters study
· Gave out fake test, randomly selected `spurters' ­
checked there performance over a period of time
*…read more

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