Ethnic Differences in Achievement

AS Sociolgy revision cards AQA- Ethnic Differences in Achievement

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Ethnic Differences In Achievement

Lawson and Garrod (2000)

Ethnic Groups:- 'People who share History, customs, identity, as well as in many cases, language and religion, and who see them selves as distinct groups'

Crystal (2003) 

There are well over 100 languages routinely used in the UK. Ethnic minority children make up 21% of pupils in English schools.


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Evidence of Ethnic Differences in Acievement

DfES (2007) 

In 2006, only 24% of white boys on free school meals- gained 5 A*-C GCSEs.

Hastings (2006)

White pupils make 11-16% less progress than black or Asian pupils in the UK. Whites may soon becoming the worst performing group in the country, because minority groups are performing more rapidly. 


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Cultural Deprivation- Intellectual & Linguistic Sk

Bereiter & Engleman 

Language spoken by low-income black American families is inadequate for educational success. 

Bowker (1968)

Lack of standard English is a major barrier to educational progress and integration into wider society. 

Swann Report (1985)

Found that language was not an important factor in under-achievement. 

Gillborn & Mirza (2000)

Indian pupils do very well despite not having English as their home language.

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Attitudes and Values- Parental Support and Family

Moynihan (1965)

Black families are generally headed by a mother, so lack financial support of male bread-winner. They tend to reproduce unstable and inadequate parents themselves. 

Murray (1984)

High rate of lone parenthood means ethnic minorities lack positive male role models leading to under-achievement.

 Flew (1984)

Ethnic differences in achievement stem from cultural differences outside education, not discrimination with in the system.

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Attitudes and Values- Parental Support and Family

Scruton (1986)

Low achievement of some ethnic minorities are due to failure to embrace mainstream British culture. 

Pryce (1979)

Asians are higher achievers than Black-Caribbean due to them being more resistant to racism. As a result Black pupils have low self-esteem and under-achieve. He says this is due to different impacts of colonialism.


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Attitudes and Values- Asian Families

Driver & Ballard (1981)

Asian parents have a positive attitudes towards education. As a result they're more supportive. 

Lupton (2004)

Authority within Asian families is similar to that of schools- parents are therefore more likely to be supportive of there children work and schools behaviour policies.

Khan (1979)

Asian families are stress ridden, and bound by tradition and have a controlling attitude particularly towards girls.

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Attitudes and Values- White Working Class Families

Sutton Trust (MORI 2004)

80% of 11-16yr old pupils from ethnic minority groups aspired to university compared to 68% of white pupils.

Evans (2006)

Street culture amongst white working class pupils can be brutal, school can be a place where power games are played- disruption makes it hard for pupils to succeed. 


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Attitudes and Values- Criticisms of Cultural Depri

Driver (1977)

It ignores the positive effects of ethnicity on education e.g. black families provide strong female role models who achieve.

Lawrence (1982)

Black pupils don't fail because of low self-esteem but racism. 

Keddie (1973)

The ethnocentric system favours white culture against ethnic minorities.


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Material Deprivation & Class

Flaherty (2004)

  • Pakistani's & Bangladeshi's are 3x more likely to be in the poorest fifth of the population.
  • Unemployment is 3x higher for Africans and Bangladeshi/Pakistani compared to whites.
  • 15% of ethnic minority household are overcrowded compared to 2% of white.

Swann Report (1985)

We may over-estimate cultural deprivation and under-estimate poverty and material deprivation. 

Mirza and Gillbourn (2000)

There are even ethnic differences between  children of the same social classes in achievement. 

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Racism in Wider Society

Mason (1995)

'Discrimination is a continuing and persistent feature of the experience of Britain's citizens of minority ethnic origin'

Rex (1986)

Racial discrimination leads to social exclusion, worsening poverty in ethnic minorities and forcing them into substandard conditions.

Noon (1993)

More people are willing to help white people (when sent out 100 letters from 'Evans' and 'Patel'.)


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Internal Factors & Ethnic Differences in Achievemn

Gillborn & Youdell (2000)

Teachers are quicker to discipline black pupils. This is a result of teachers' 'racialist expectations' stemming from racial stereotypes. 

Black Pupils- Foster (1990)

Stereotypes of black pupils as badly behaved results in them being put into lower sets and leads to lower levels of achievement. 


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Internal Factors- Asian Pupils

Wright (1992)

Teachers assumed they'd have poor grasp of the English language- teachers used simplistic, childish language. Asian pupils felt isolated when teachers spelt of mispronounced there names. It prevented them from ever participating fully at school.


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Pupil Responses & Subcultures- Rejecting Negative

Fuller (1984)

Study of yr11 black girls instead of accepting negative stereotypes they channelled there anger into success contradicting the norm. 

Mac and Ghaill (1992)

Pupils don't always respond to labels in the same way- it depends on ethnicity, class and gender. 


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Pupil Responses & Subcultures- Failed Strategies t

Mirza (1992)

Coping strategies of Black girls restricted there opportunities. Teachers discouraged them from being ambitious. Most of their time was spent avoiding racist teachers however they had high self-esteem.


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Pupil Responses & Subcultures- Boys Responses

Sewell (1998)

Rebels:- Influential group , often excluded, stereotyped the 'black machismo lad.' 

Conformists:- Largest group, anxious not to be stereotyped, accepted school and had friends from a variety of ethnic groups.

Retreatist:- Minority disconnected from school and black subcultures, despised by the rebels. 

Innovators:- 2nd Largest group pro-education but anti-school, conformed to school work but maintained credibility with rebels.  


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Evaluation- The Ethnocentric Curriculum

Tronya & Williams (1986)

British system is ethnocentric because it favours white culture. 

David (1993)

British curriculum ignores non-European languages, literature and culture.

Ball (1994)

The National Curriculum ignores black and Asian history and celebrates British past glories. 

Stone (1981)

Argues black children don't in fact suffer from low self-esteem.

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Evaluation- Institutional Racism

Tronya & Williams (1986)

  • Individual Racism- Result from prejudiced views of an individual. 
  • Institutional Racism- Discrimination built into schools operations. 

Ethnocentric curriculum is an example of institutional racism. 

Hatcher (1996) 

Schools gave low priority to racism and nothing was done over parents lack of language support. 


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Selection & Segregation

Gillborn (1997)

Marketisation has given schools a greater scope to select pupils putting a disadvantage to ethnic minority pupils.

Moore & Davenport (1990)

US research that showed they would filter out pupils with language or learning difficulties making it harder for none-English speaking parents to understand.

Commissions for Racial Equality (1993)

Ethnic minority children are more likely to go to unpopular schools:-

  • Primary schools stereotype ethnic minority pupils.
  • Racist bias interviews for school places.
  • Lack of info on application forms in minority languages.
  • Lack of awareness of how the system works.
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Ethnicity Class and Gender

Evans (2006)

"we need to look at ethnicity, gender and class for every child"

Connolly (1996)

Teachers saw black boys as disruptive so they seeked attention elsewhere e.g. football or kiss-chase. Teachers saw Asian pupils as conformists and in need of protection from bullies. 


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