EDUCATION - Gender, ethnicity and Social class - DEA

Differences in educational achievement - gender, ethnicity, social class. Bulletpoint notes of theorists and main concpets.

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  • Created by: Emma Ford
  • Created on: 20-05-11 10:10
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Differences in Educational Achievement
In recent years, girls have outperformed boys in most subjects with 10% more girls receiving
5 A*-C grades than boys.
Impact of Feminism
1970 Equal Pay Act has made it easier for women to be financially independent as
they receive equal pay to men = more women working = changed position in society
McRobbie = Magazines in the 70's such as `Jackie' encouraged `housewife' role
whereas magazines nowadays present women as assertive and independent role
Girl's Changing Ambitions
Oakley's `housewife' role is being replaced with the independent, career-driven
Sue Sharpe = conducted interviews on young girls ambitions. She found that in the
1970's girls' felt that having a career was unfeminine and that they had low
ambitions whereas in the 1990's, Sharpe found that girls aspired to having careers
and supporting themselves
Changes in Family structure
Rise of Divorce could encourage girls to not depend on marriage or a husband as the
provider. Therefore, in education they would work hard to gain qualifications that
will give them a well-paid job to support themselves.
The Rise in single-parent families (as more women can financially support
themselves) would result in a lack of male role models for boys which can be linked
to the `Crisis of Masculinity'
Primary Socialisation
Mitsos and Brown = Girls are more likely to read than boys. Therefore, boy's may
have less literacy skills than girls which would affect their educational achievement
Decline of Traditional Male jobs
Decline in male manual work may result in w/c/ boys lacking motivation. Mitsos and
Brown = argue that this decline has led to a crisis of masculinity ­ many boys believe
they have little chance of gaining a job and this undermines their self-esteem and
motivation therefore, they give up on qualifications and more likely to underachieve
in education.

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Feminisation of education
Schools have begun to reward feminine traits such as attentiveness and dismiss
masculine traits such as competitiveness and leadership. Therefore, girls are in the
teachers favour.
Coursework based subjects introduced. It is argued that girls do better in
coursework than boys
Teacher Interaction
Frank = Argues that boys are treated differently in classrooms; boys are given more
attention only when they are being disciplined and are given harsher punishments.…read more

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A02 Gillborn and Mirza = Indian pupils that have English as an additional language is
not a barrier to success as they are statistically some of the higher achievers.
Attitudes and Values of the family can also be a contributing factor.
Pilkington = African Caribbean's may have family cultures that do not place a high
value on educational support
Chinese families however, place a very high value on education more than from
example travelling communities.…read more

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Ethnocentric Curriculum
Subjects such as R.E., English Literature and History have been accused of being
ethnocentric as they focus on white British culture i.e. does not include the history of
black people and foreign languages taught in schools are primarily European.
Gillborn = Marketisation has given schools greater scope to select pupils and this
puts some ethnic minority pupils at a disadvantage ­ selection gives more scope for
negative stereotypes to influence decisions about who is admitted.…read more

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Tanner = costs of transport, uniforms, books, computers, internet, sports/music/art
equipment places a heavy burden on w/c.
Cultural Capital
Bourdieu = uses the concept of cultural capital (knowledge, attitudes, values,
language and ability) to explain why m/c students are more successful/more
W/c parents lack the cultural capital necessary for success, they lack cultural capital
and realise that the teachers/school attach little importance to their values and
experiences.…read more

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­ therefore, they get into better schools ­ better grades etc
Gillborn and Youdell = educational triage ­ schools channel most of their efforts
into those students who are likely to get 5 GCSE's (A*-C economy). Within the triage,
w/c students are seen being lower ability and therefore `hopeless cases'. Produces
self-fulfilling prophecy and failure.…read more


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