Internal Factors of educational achievement within different social groups

Internal Factors of educational achievement with different social groups

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Daniel Rafaeli
Using material from Item A and elsewhere assess the view that factors and
processes within the school are the main cause of differences in the educational
achievement of different social groups. (20 marks)
Different social groups are subject to different levels of achievement because of a range of internal
and external factors. These factors include gender, race and ethnicity, and financial status, and are
measured by the academic success of the students mainly by looking at GCSE and other styled
examination results. Within these groups there are subgroups that either have high levels of
achievement or correspondingly have lower rates of achievement. Some sociologist argue that
internal factors are the core reason for educational achievement and underachievement, where as
other sociologist hold the opposing view of external factors being the most instrumental to
educational achievement.
Labelling is an internal factor in which affects gender, class, and ethnicity in varied ways. Labelling
within different classes occurs in primary and secondary schools however the most significant form of
labelling according to a range of sociologists is the primary schools. Ray Rists study on an American
primary school highlights the fact that children are judged and labelled on a work appearance,
conduct basis where the children from a middle class background get grouped together and are
labelled with a positive label such as the "tigers" or the "spurters" and these were the kids who had
a clean and neat appearance and seemed to come from a better home. These were the students in
which sat closets to the class and were given the most attention, thus meaning that the lower class
students were deprived of attention and encouragement and they sat further away from the class
therefore their opportunities were restricted in a way in which disregarded their abilities. Within
ethnicity, teachers often hold `racialised expectations' of students within a certain race and
background such as black Caribbean or even Pakistani students. This can lead to the underestimation
of students due to either conscious or subconscious expectations of these students. For example
Gillborn and Youdell found that teachers associated black boys with trouble and problems and
therefore regarded their behaviour as more threatening and in response treated it with a higher
level of discipline thus meaning their academic potential is not being reached and can lead to failure
and therefore differential results in contrast to other students.
Having said this, there are many external factors which have just as much significance over
differential achievement levels. For example material deprivation is the concept given to being
deprived of basic essentials and resources that are needed for a healthy lifestyle and are needed in
order to promote educational success. Without these basic essentials such as appropriate housing,
(E.g. Living in an overcrowded house will mean that there is limited access to working space and
often means that beds will need to be shared which will lead to less sleep which will affect school
work and achievement) ones academic future is at risk and is a extremely relevant contributing factor
towards differential academic achievement.
Another contributing internal factor is Setting and streaming which affects class ethnicity and gender.
Setting and streaming is the process of placing pupils into different groups based on their
`intellectual abilities' however in reality pupils are placed in lower sets not only because of different

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For examples, boys are often
underestimated in regards to their intellectual ability and are therefore most likely going to be
placed in a lower ability set which will decrease the chance of succeeding in education because of
their restricted opportunities such as a very basic structure to the curriculum without any abstract and
complex information needed to get a highly regarded mark.…read more

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