Factors that affect educational achievement

Material Factors

  • Lower standard in hosuing can affect attainment a s higher risk of accidents or illness (Douglas). Less space can mean no room to study or play educationally. Pupils living in temporary or emergency housing may have to move a lot which can affect attainment as little stability.
  • Pooer diet can lower cognitive development in younger children and can afffect attention paid at school. People from poorer homes have lower intake of energy, vitamins and minerals leading to a weaker immune system (Howard, 2001).
  • Lower class children more likely to suffer from hyperactivity, anxiety and conduct disorders, (Wilkison, 1996)
  • Lower income means less educational resources can be feasibly be bought
  • Difficult to afford higher or private education (Smith and Noble, 1995) thanks to tution fees (UCAS found drop of 8.6% after they were introduced), may not even attempt from fear of debt, 5 times less likely to apply than debt tolerant ones (Callender and Jackson, 2005). Reay (2005) found w/c children would not apply to further away universities because of transport costs
  • Difficult to afford secret cost of education (Bull, 1980). Things like transport, books, uniforms, claculators and trips etc, can place heavy burden and many pupils have to use hand me downs and less fasionable equipment leading to higher risk of being bullied or stigmatized, (Tanner, 2003). Flaherty (2004) found 20% of students entilited ot FSM did not take them from fear of being stigmatized as well as money being a reason for non attendence in young children
1 of 8

Material Factors Cont.

  • Poorer familys less likely to send their child to preschool which can help with young development and may set them back 
  • More likely to have part-time jobs to help with family costs potentially meaning missing school 
  • Many schools reley on donations for things like extra resources and to fund things like educational trips meaning less eduction enrichment which can boost attainment, 90% of filing schools are situated in deprived areas.
  • Blanden and Machin (2007) found w/c children more likely to externalise their behaviour and get into to trouble and those excluded are less likely to come back than those in the higher classes
2 of 8

Cultural Factors

  • Intellectual development
  • Douglas (1964) says lower attainment is due to a lack of support of their childrens intellectual development compared to higher classes this is due to imprper socilisation of the parents to value educational success and instead they fail to do this.
  • Berstein and Young (1967) found middle class mothers pick more toys that encourage thinking and reasoning helping to developp their childrens minds from an early stage compared to lower class parents
  • These two things give and advantage to higher classes because by the time they enter school they are likely to be more devloped cognitively and so start at an advantage
  • Language
  • W/c class pupils are likely to speak with the restricted code, this maes it more difficult to understand more abstract ideas and communicate them in exams and maybe misinterpreted as lower ability. Middle class pupils at advantage as the eleaborated code they use is the one also accepted in shcools. (Bernstein)
3 of 8

Cultural Factors Cont.

  • Attitudes and Values
  • Sugarman (1970) - developed four factors of the working class as a subculture that affcect achievement:
  • Fatalism - what will be will be, leads to complacency and acceptacne of failure without learning
  • Collectvism - wanting to be part of a group and valuing the common good of it succeding over the individual. Higher classes tend to value individualism which is caring mainly about only your own success.
  • Immediate Gratification - wanting success and rewards straight away instead of waiting ahnd making sacrfices for achievment in the future.
  • Present Time Orientation - see the present as more important than the future therefore do not do long term planning and set goals for the future which limits their attainment as they see less value in waitng for success.
4 of 8

Cultural Factors Evaluation

  • Keddie (1973) - said that w/c pupils are not culturally deprived but simply have a different culture to other classes, to encourage more positivity towards education schools hould recogniose this other culture instead of being prejudice towards it.
  • Blackstone and Moritmore (1994) - argue that w/c parents may be interested in their childrens education but do not feel comfertasble in a more middle class environment created by the school, education system and teachers and so purposely may avoid teachers meetings and parents evenings. It can also be difficult to attend these events as they have to orgainse longer or non-regular hours in order to get enough money to support the family.
5 of 8

Cultural Capital

Bourdieu (1984)

  • There three types of capital:
  • Economic
  • Cultural
  • Educational 
  • The higher classes are more likely to posses higher amounts of these. Through socilaistaion they are more likely to gain more intellectual interests and posses charecteristics and norms which are valued in the education system and are rewarded with qualifications.
  • On the other hand w/c children believe that the education system does not favour them and are likely to misbehave and not get qualifications.

Sulivan (2001) 

  • Did survey, found pupils that read complex books, attended museums and watched documentries had a increased cultural capital and therefore were likely to do better in the GCSE's. Some of the students had the same cultural capital but were in a different class, in these case the middle class pupils still did better as they had higher aspiration and access to resources.
6 of 8

Cultural Capital Cont.

Gewirtz (1995)

  • Used secondary data and interviews, found more middle class parents with more cultural capital could take advantage of the ed system easier. 
  • Concluded the marketisation of schools gave them more of an advantage rather than helping all the classes. It allows them to examine which school will benifit them the most and what is requried of them and their children to allow them to succed.
  • She identfied three types of parent:
  • Privliged-skill choosers: middle class parents using their different capitals to gain educational capital for their children, those who know how the system works and can use their wealth to ensure the best outcome possible for their child
  • Semi-Skilled choosers: w/c parents with ambition for their childrens future 
  • Disconnected-local choosers: w/c parents who are resticted by their lack of capitals, these parents found it hard to understand the admission process and made their choice based on location and faclilties rather than preivous exam results and league table position
7 of 8

Criticising Material Factors to Cultural Capital/F

  • Agreement across the board that culture is developed through primary socialisation and lack of capitals can adversly affect educational achievement
  • Disagreement taht cultural deprevation suggests parents have no interest in their childrens education, Bourdieau says it is due to lack of economic capitals
  • Disagreement as Bourdieau says it is not w/c peoples fault just like Keddie and Blackstone and Moritmore
  • Evidence of cultural capital mainly uses primary data whereas deprevation uses secondary data 
  • Both factors can be combated through government policy like Sure Star centres and EAZ's, schools should be more accepting of the w/c subculture rather than being prejudice
  • Education purposelys picks higher classes to emulate to reproduce current inequalties in society. (Marxist)
  • It is more the quality of the school that has an impact on eductional acievement 
  • Some point out it is cultural, political and religous factors that play key roles in the motivation of a child to succeed even despite a low income.
  • A lot of the evidence comes from study of offical statistics which interpretivists would disagree with as they would say it does not prove that deprevation is the sole cause of underacievement 
  • Postmodernists say class differences do not matter anymore
8 of 8

Comments

No comments have yet been made

Similar Sociology resources:

See all Sociology resources »See all Education resources »