Reasons for Class Differences in Achievement


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Cultural Deprivation
Parents' aspirations, values, attitudes affect children's education negative effect = poorer performance
Leon Feinstein:
o Wc parents have smaller interest in education underachievement
Educational games, activities and reading stimulate thinking and reasoning skills affect intellectual
Basil Bernstein:
o Restricted code (Less analytical, more descriptive, particularistic) vs elaborated code (more analytical,
used in education system)
Nell Keddie:
o myth of cultural deprivation, used to victim blame, different not deprived
o Underachievement failed by schools who favour mc culture
Material Deprivation
Lack of physical resources (room, money equipment) which can have an adverse effect on educational
Smith and Noble: Importance of material factors e.g. money can help parents provide educational toys, books,
healthy diet, travel opportunities, private tuition
Warwick University: most students choose school using selection or acceptance by mortgage, mc can afford to
move to catchment areas of best schools, leaving unsuccessful schools full of wc
Gerwitz: Money affects choosing of schools. Mc parents are `privileged skilled choosers' with `hot' knowledge on
Cultural Capital
Bordieu: cultural capital refers to Knowledge, attitude, language, value, aspiration, tastes of middle class
Middle class culture = capital BECAUSE it translates to wealth and power which gives advantage
Middle class culture fits closely with school culture
Working class have cultural deficit because they don't have the cultural capital necessary for educational
Interactionist approach: how teachers make sense of and respond to pupil behaviour
Rist: Seating in US kindergarten determined by how pupils conformed to teacher's MC values (labelled and
evaluated by social class) not abilities
Gillborn and Youdell: Teacher more likely to see MC as doing a high level exam. Discrimination: WC don't have
opportunity to gain higher grades. SFP Teacher expectations of future behaviour and attainment become true
Margaret Fuller Black girls rejected attempt to be labelled by devoting themselves to school work to succeed
Marxists: labels not due to teacher prejudices but due to fact that teachers work in a capitalist system divided by
social class
Banding, Setting, Streaming
MC put in higher groups than working class
Campbell (2001): subject setting is advantageous to MC as research evidence proves that theirattainment
increases, whereas WC's doesn't at the same rate or to the same level

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Stephen Ball (2003): setting is a `social barbarity' as it permits MC parents to separate their children from others
they perceive as socially and intellectually inferior
Selection Policies
MC = desirable recruits, better grades
WC= `liability', barrier to climbing league tables
Bartlett: popular schools `cream-skim' high ability students and `silt-shift' low ability students from
disadvantaged backgrounds into unpopular schools obliged by funding
Gillborn and Youdell: schools have `A*-C economy' where they channel all their efforts into students with 5+
GCSEs at A*-C.…read more


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