Ethnic Differences in Achievement - External

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Ethnicity and Achievement ­ External
Many sociologists argue that ethnic differences in achievement can best be explained by looking at
factors outside the school ­ in the home, family and culture of the child and the impact of wider
society
Cultural Deprivation
Cultural deprivation theory sees the under-achievement of some ethnic groups as the result of
inadequate socialisation in the home
Intellectual and Linguistic Skills
Cultural deprivation theorists see the lack of intellectual and linguistic skills as a major cause
of underachievement for many minority children
They argue that many children from low income black families lack intellectual stimulation and
enriching experiences
This leaves them poorly equipped for school because they have not been able to developed
reasoning and problem solving skills
Bereiter and Engelmann
- The language spoken by low income black American families is inadequate for educational
success
- It is ungrammatical, disjointed and incapable of expressing abstract ideas
Bowker 1968
- Their lack of standard English is a major barrier to progress in education and integration into
wider society
Swann Report 1985
- Found that language was not a major factor in under achievement
Gillborn and Mirza 2000
- Indian pupils do very well despite often not having English as their home language
Attitudes and Values
Cultural deprivation theorists see lack of motivation as a major cause of the failure of many
black children
Most other children are socialised into the mainstream culture, which instils ambition,
competitiveness and willingness to make sacrifices
This equips them for success in education
However, some black children are socialised into a subculture that instils a fatalistic attitude
that does not value education
This leaves them unequipped for success
Family Structure and Parental Support
Cultural deprivation theorists argue that this failure to socialise children adequately is the
result of a dysfunctional family structure

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Daniel Moynihan 1965
- Argues that because many black families are headed by a lone mother, their children are
deprived of adequate care
- This is because she has to struggle financially in the absence of a male breadwinner
- The father's absence also means that boys lack an adequate role model of male
achievement
- Sees cultural deprivation as a cycle where inadequately socialised children from unstable
families go on to fail at school and become inadequate parents themselves
Murray 1984
- Argues that…read more

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Sutton Trust 2004
- 80% of 11-16 year old ethnic minority pupils aspired to go to university
- 68% of white pupils aspired to go to university
Lupton 2004
- Studied four mainly working class schools
- Two predominantly white, one serving a largely Pakistani community and the fourth
drawing pupils from an ethnically mixed community
- Found that teachers reported poorer levels of behaviour and discipline in the white working
class schools
- Teachers blamed this on lower levels of parental support and the…read more

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Anti-racist education: a policy that challenges the prejudice and discrimination that exists in
schools and wider society
Material Deprivation
Material deprivation means a lack of those physical necessities that are seen as essential of normal
for life in today's society.…read more

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This helps to explain why members of ethnic minorities are more likely to face unemployment and
low pay, and this in turn has a negative effect on their children's educational prospects…read more

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