Asses the claim that "ethnic differences in educational achievement are primarily the result of school factors"

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Asses the claim that "ethnic differences in educational achievement are
primarily the result of school factors" (20 marks)
Most studies found that overall ethnic minorities tend to do less well than other members of the
population when it comes to educational achievement. The government sponsored "Swann report"
found that "Asians" did almost as well as "Whites" however not as well, one Asian group in particular
the "Bangladeshi's" did particularly badly and "West Indians" preformed considerably worse than
"Whites". Many factors which occur inside the school are the cause of educational achievement
however other factors contribute.
The expectations of teachers on ethnic minorities have caused differences in educational
achievement. Bernard Coard believes that teachers expect "Black" children to fail therefore labelling
the child as a failure. Interactionalists are concerned with how teachers "pidgeonhole" students this is
the labelling theory, this is where the teacher makes a judgement of the child based on the child's
appearance, behaviour, previous family members and relationships with other students. However
most labels are based on stereotypes rather than evidence, the reality is that once a label starts it is
difficult to get rid of and this can cause problems for a student's educational achievement. Teachers
will discuss the students label in the staff room and other teachers will attach the same label to the
child and this can lead to the child not being allowed to attend school trips. If a student is labelled as a
failure by a teacher then the teacher is likely to put the student into a lower tier exam thus the pupil
can only achieve a maximum of a grade C and can't achieve to the best of their ability. When a
student is labelled as a failure the student can begin to believe that the label is true and begin to
make it part of their part of their identity, become a failure this is known as the self-fulfilling
prophecy thus creating ethnic differences in educational achievement within the school system. David
Hardgreves argues that anti school sub cultures can be formed as a result of negative labelling.
However Maureen Stone and Swann both indicate that those who are labelled may not accept their
Institutional Racism within schools can lead to educational achievement and the differences it causes
within ethnic minorities. The "Swann report" found that a small number of teachers are consciously
racist however there are a great deal of teachers who are "unintentionally" racist. Bernard Coard
states that the British educational system makes children become educationally subnormal he states
that "West Indian children are told that their language is second rate and unacceptable" he states
that within the British educational system the word "White" is associated with "good" and the word
"Black" with evil. Coard also states that the attitudes portrayed in the classroom are reinforced by
the pupils outside of the classroom. Many sociologists would also argue that the mispronunciation of
student's names and not learning them can be classed as racism within the school system. Cecile
Wright found that majority of staff are committed to ideals of equality but despite these ideals there
are still considerable amounts of discrimination in the classroom. Asian children were often excluded
from discussions and teachers expressed an "open disapproval of their customs and traditions",
these comments from teachers made Asian children feel more isolated from other pupils. Martin
Hammersley found that racist comments in the staffroom did not lead to racism in the classroom. J.
Taylor found that "most teachers are concerned to have a fair policy towards the treatment of black
pupils". Mac an Ghaill studied 25 afro Caribbean and Asian students studying A levels. He found that
"although they disagreed over the extent of racism within education, this did not directly determine
their attitude to education and their levels of academic success. The way that students responded to
Ryan O'Reilly

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This could eventually lead to the
formation of anti-school sub cultures. These are pupils who have rejected some or all of the values
and rules set down in the school ethos. Peter Woods identified 8 different groups ranging from
Ingratiation total conformity to Rebellion outright rejection of school rules and values. This can cause
ethnic differences in educational achievement within the school system.
The Ethocentric curriculum can cause ethnic differences in educational achievement this is the school
being biased towards one particular culture.…read more

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Bernstein found that White middle class children had the ability to switch between the two codes
whereas children from ethnic minorities were limited to using the restricted code. This means they
are severely disadvantaged in education where the language is all formal.
In conclusion, it is probable that a number of factors work together in producing the lower levels of
achievement found in some ethnic groups.…read more


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