Class differences in achievement (external)

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External Factors. (Class)

  • Material deprivation- 'Poverty and a lack of basic necessities such as adequate housing and income'. Exclusion and truancy are  more likely for children from poorer families. Housing- Overcrowding can make it harder to study, less room to do homework, cold/dampness ca casue illness. Diet and healthHoward 01 argues children from poorer homes have lower intake  of vitamins and minerals weaking the immune system=absence.
  • Cultural deprivation- Aquiring values, attitudes and skills needed for educational success through primary socialisation in the family. Many working class families fail to socialise their children therefore they grow up socially deprived, They lack basic social equipment (language, self discipline, reasoning skills) neded to well in school. 
  • Cultural Captial- Through socialisation middle class children are more abe to grasp and express complex ideas and understand what the education system requires for success. The education system favours and transmits middles class culture making working class feel their culture is inferior. Cultural captial+Economic capital=Educational capital.
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Cultural deprivation.

  • Intellectual Development- Working class homes lack the books, educational toys and activities that would stimulate a childs intelletual development. DOUGLAS 64 found working class pupils scored lower on tests of ability then middle class pupils. He argues that this is because working class parents are less likely to support their childrens intellectual development through reading with them or doing other educational activities at home.
  • Language- Bereiter and Engelmann 66 claim the language used in lower class homes is deficient. lower cass families communicate by gestures and disjointed phrases. Restricted speech code (bernstein)- Used by working class, limited vocabulary, use of short and unfinished and gramticaly simple sentences, speech is predictable.Elaborated speech code (bernstein)- used by middle class, wider vocabulary, longer gramaticaly complex sentences, speech is varied communication of abstract ideas. Evaluation- Assumes working class speech is inadequate blaming working class culture.
  • Attitudes and values- Douglas found middle class parents are more likely to be supportive, place more value on education, be more ambitious for ther children, be more encouranging and to take more interest in their childs education. He found working class parents visite schools less to discuss their chidrens progress. It has also bee argued that a large section of working class have different goals, beliefs, attitudes and values from the rest of society.
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Sugarman 1970.

Sugarman argues middle class jobs are secure careers offering continuous individual advancement, this encourages ambition, long term planning, willingness to invest time in gaining qualifications, in contrast working class jobs are less secureand have little career structure. Parents pass on these values through socialiation. The following are values internalised by working cass children and results in them underachieving.

  • Fatalism- A belief in fate- that what will be will be and there is nothing you can do to change your status. whereas middle classes emphasise you can change your position through your own efforts.
  • Collectivism- Valuing being part of a group more than succeeding as an individual- this contrasts with middle class views that an individual should not be hlp back by group loyalties.
  • Immediate gratification- seeking pleasure now rather than making sacrafices in order to get rewards in the future. In contrast middle class values emphasise deffered gratification, making sacrafices now getting rewards later.
  • Present-time orientation- seeing the present as more important than the future  and so not having long term goals or plans. Midle clas culture has a future-time orientation that sees planning for the future as important.
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Bourdieu.

Argues both cultural values (attitudes) and material factors contribute to performance, he argues middle class students usually do better because they have three types of capital;

  • Eduational capital= Qualifications.
  • Cultural capital= knowledge, skills, attitudes, tastes and abilities of the middle class.
  • Econommic capital= wealth, money, resources.

Cultural capital+economic capital=educational capital.

He also argues that the middle classes have a capital- a type of wealth that puts them at an advantage within education- educational, cultural and economic.

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Internal Factors. (class)

  • Labelling- Interactionists have studied classroom interactions and how they affect students achievement. Interactionists argue teachers may label pupils as bright, thick, trouble maker or hardworking. Studies have shown that teachers often attach those labels regardless of the pupils actual ability or attitude. They label pupils based on stereotyped assumptionns about their class background, labelling working class pupils negatively and middle class pupils positvely.
  • Streaming- where children are seperated into different ability groups or classes, each ability group is taug seperately from the others for all subjects. 
  • Subcultures- A pupil subculture is a group of pupils who share similar values and behaviour patterns. they often emerge as a response to the way pupils have been labelled and in particular as a reaction to streaming/labelling.
  • Pupils class identities- Archer 2010- uses bourdieus idea of habitus to explain how students identities (from home) may interact in school to produce underachievement. Middle class have the power to define its habitus as superior and to impose it on the education system. Schools put a higher value on middle classs tastes and preferences, this means middl classes hae symbolic capital and recognition from the school. Girs tend to have hyper-heterosexual feminine styles, policed by peer groups, not conforming leads to 'social suicide' .
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Becker, Rist & Keddie.

  • Becker- an interactionist, carried out a study with 60 chicago shool teachersand found they judged pupils according to how closely they fitted an image of the ideal pupil. Work, conduct and aappearance were key factors influencing teachers judgements. Middle class chilren were closest to the ideal.
  • Rist- found in amercan kindergarten classes, teachers used information about childrens home background and appearance to place them in seperate groups seating each group at a different table. The teachers called the fast learners 'tigers'= middle class, neat appearance. They sat nearest the teacher and were show encourangement.The other two groups were called the 'cardinals' and 'clowns'=working class, given lower level books, fewer oppertunities to demonstrate ther abilities. These studies show how labelling of working class pupils puts them at a disadvantage.
  • Keddie- Studied a school which streamed students according to ability. Although all classes followed the same course, Stream A were given abstract, high status knowledge, less able Stream C groups were given descriptive, common sense, low status knowledge, this shows that teavhers were limiting certain students whilst allowing others to progress more.
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Rosenthal & Jacobson.

  • They told a california primary school they had a test designed to identify those pupils who would 'spurt'. This was untrue, it was just a normal IQ test but teachers believed what they had been told. The researchers randomly picked 20% of all students who took part in the test and told the school, falsely. that these students were spurters.
  • Researchers returned a year later and found that almost half of those identified as spurters had indeed made signficant progress. Teachers communicated through interaction their beliefs, what people believe to be true will have real effects.
  • This shows the idea of a self ful-filing prophecy; this is the idea that that when a pupil is given a labe they live up to it, wether that b a negative or positie label.
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Pro/Anti school subcultures.

Some sociologists would argue streaming students can form anti-school subcultures. listed below are features of an anti-school subculture:

  • Always disruptive.
  • Low concerntration.
  • Low interaction.
  • Lack of interest in academic work.
  • Restricted speech code/bad language.
  • Poor exam results.
  • Make a habit out of breaking rules.
  • Lack of respect.

However there is also a pro-school subculture, they have the following features:

  • High concerntration and interaction.
  • High interest in academic work and achieveing good grades.
  • Good exam results.
  • Always obey the rules.
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Marketisation policies.

Policies directly affect these micro level processes to produce class differences in achievement.

Marketisation is the introduction of market forces of supply and demand into areas run by the state through policies, in other words, making schools compete with eachother, students and parents are the consumers and the schools are the businesses.

Examples of marketisation based policies:

  • A funding formula- this gives a school the same amount of funds for each pupil, the more students the more money but must be selective to get the best results.
  • Exam league tables- Rank each school according to its exam performance and make no allowance for ability of its pupils. Schools are simply ranked in order of students success rates of five or more GCSE's A*-C. This encourages competition among schools.

Schools want to attract pupils and funding, and so are under pressure to stream and select pupils.

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Selection and competition processes.

Schools are under pressure to select more able students, therefore middle class pupils who will help the school rank higher are usualy selected. Those schools high in the league tables will be better placed to attract more able, middle class students because of the ranking. 

This creates the following improvements in the school:

  • increases funding, select froma large number of applicants and are picky, increase popularity.

While popular schools can afford to screen out the less able or more difficult pupils from iasdvantgaed backgrounds, unpopular schools are obligated to take them, get worse results, become less popular an see their funding reduced. 

Barlett argues maketisation leads to popular schools doing the following:

  • Cream skimming- selecting higher ability students who gain the best results and cost less to teach
  • Silt shifting- Off loading the pupils with learning difficulties who are expensive to teach and get poor results.
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Selection and competition processes.

Schools are under pressure to select more able students, therefore middle class pupils who will help the school rank higher are usualy selected. Those schools high in the league tables will be better placed to attract more able, middle class students because of the ranking. 

This creates the following improvements in the school:

  • increases funding, select froma large number of applicants and are picky, increase popularity.

While popular schools can afford to screen out the less able or more difficult pupils from iasdvantgaed backgrounds, unpopular schools are obligated to take them, get worse results, become less popular an see their funding reduced. Barlett argues maketisation leads to popular schools doing the following:

  • Cream skimming- selecting higher ability students who gain the best results and cost less to teach
  • Silt shifting- Off loading the pupils with learning difficulties who are expensive to teach and get poor results
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