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Class Difference in Educational
Achievement: Internal Factors

To label someone is to attach a meaning or definition to a person
Many studies have shown that teachers often attach labels to pupils, even without knowing the
pupil's ability or attitude towards education


Becker 1971

Carried out an important internationalist…

Page 2

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The teachers felt that when a child was ready to learn they would seek help, for example with
The teachers also believed that children who were not yet ready to learn should be allowed to
engage in "compensatory play" in the Wendy House until they were ready
Middle class…

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Rosenthal and Jacobson 1968

Oak community school; a California primary school
Told the school that they had a new test specially designed to identify those pupils who would
"spurt" ahead
This was untrue; it was simply a standard IQ test
The teachers believe what they had been told
Researchers tested…

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Lacey 1970

Differentiation: the process of teachers categorising pupils according to how they perceive
their ability, attitude and/or behaviour.
Polarisation: The process in which pupils respond to streaming by moving towards one of two
opposite "poles" or extremes
In his study of Hightown boys' grammar school, Lacey found that streaming…

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Study of Beachside, a comprehensive that was in the process of abolishing banding in favour of
teaching mixed ability groups
Banding, as described by Lacey, had produced polarisation
When the school abolished banding, the need to polarise was largely removed and the influence
of the anti-school subculture declined
Differentiation, however,…

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Marketisation brought in: A funding formula; gives a school the same amount of funds for each
pupil, Exam league tables; which rank each school according to its exam performance and make
no allowance for the level of ability of its pupils, Competition; competition among schools to
attract pupils

The A-to-C…

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One example of how this can disadvantage working class children is through the use of
home/school contracts.
Selective schools often require parents to sign a demanding home/school contracts before
being offered a place.


The contract requires parents to "ensure attendance and punctuality, encourage and support
their daughter with her…

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Schools have had to spend more on marketing themselves to parents, often at the expense of
spending special needs or other areas

There is evidence, that marketisation and selection processes have created a polarised
education system; middle class pupils at well-resourced, popular schools, whilst working class
pupils at under-resourced schools…


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