Class Differences In Achievement
WC pupils in general achieve less than MC pupils in education. Children of higher professionals are 2-3 times more likely than children of routine manual workers to get 5 or more A* - C grades at GCSE, and about 5 times more likely to go to university. Range of explanations for these differences:
External factors or home background factors that lie outside the school.
Internal factors within the school and the education system.
Achievement and home background
Cultural factors These include class differences in norms and values acquired through socialisation, attitutes to education, speech codes etc.
Material factors These are the physical necessities of life, such as aqequate housing, diet and income.
Cultural Deprivation Theory
This is the main explanation for class differences in achievement
'Culture' refers to all the norms, values and beliefs, skills and knowledge that a society or a group regards as important. This culture is transmitted to the next generation through socialisation.
Different classes socialise their children differently and this may affect their achievement
Some WC parents fail to transmit the appropriate norms, values, attitudes, knowledge, skills etc that are needed to succeed in education.
Cultural deprivation theorists = 3 factors that are responsible for the underachievement of WC pupils: a lack of intellectual stimulation, the restricted speech code and working-class subculture.
Intellectual Stimulation, Speech Codes and WC Subc
Intellectual stimulation- WC parents are less lickely to give their children educational toys and activities that will stimulate their thinking and reasoning skills, and less likely to read to them = they begin school at a disadvantage.
Speech Codes- Bernstein (1975) distinguishes between elaborated and restricted speech codes.The WC use the restricted code = less analytic and more descriptive, has a limited vocabulary and is formed of simple sentences or even just gestures. Particularistic = assumes that the listener shares the particular meanings that the speaker holds, so the speaker doesn't spell them out
The MC use the elaborated code = more analytic, use of wide vocabulary and complex sentences.
WC Subculture- three aspects of WC subculture that contribute to under-achievement.
1) Immediate gratification
2) Fatalism- a belief that 'whatever will be will be'. WC children don't beliebe they can improve their position through their own individual efforts.
Low value on education = Hyman = WC don't value education (and don't believe they will benefit from it), so they don't try. Douglas = WC parents show less interest in their children's education and give them less support e.g. they are less likely than MC parents to attend parents' evening.
Criticism of CD
It ignores importance of material factors such as poverty.
It ignores the impact of school factors, e.g. negative labelling by teachers.
It blames the victim for their failure. WC are not deprived- they have a different culture from the school and this puts them at a disadvantage.
Poor Housing = overcrowding = no where quiet to revise
Poor Diet = absenses from school due to being ill.
Low Income = this can lead to...
1) A lack of education materials (books, PC with internet access).
2) Lack of the right uniform or the latest fashion items, which can lead to bullying.
3) Not being able to afford university fees.
School Factors And Achievement
Labelling- definitions we attacth to someone or something to make sense of them e.g. MC children are labelled as 'bright', 'motivated', 'cooperative'. Becker (1961) teachers label MC students as 'ideal pupils' and prefer to teach them.
The Self fulfilling prophecy- a prediction about something or someone e.g. "he is stupid" and "he is bound to fail" = it comes true because the prophecy has been made.
Streaming = extreme form of labelling- putting all pupils of similar ability together into the same class or ' stream' for all subjects, "Bright" pupils top stream; "Thick" students at the bottom stream.
Douglas found that IQ of those in bottom fell and those in top stream got higher.
Pupils have own response to labelling:
1) Pro-school subcultures- pupils in higher streams accept school values and work hard, regular attendence and respect for teachers.
2) Anti-school subcultures- lower streams. Values and aims are opposite to those of the school. They disrespect teachers and avoid doing work.
Lacey- anti school subculture is due to labelling.
Gender Differences In Education
Gender patterns in achievement- in the past boys out- performed the girls, but since the 1980s girls have improved more rapidly and now thet do better than boys at all levels in most subjects.
Reasons for improvement in girls' achievement = External factors and Internal factors.
External factors and girls' achievement
1) The influence of feminism.
Feminists have had an impact on women's rights and opportunities through campains to win changes in the law, e.g. on equal pay, outlawing **** in marriage etc.
Feminist ideas are likely to have affected girls' self- image and aspirations. As a result, they are more motivated to do well in education.
Girls' changing perceptions and Ambitions
Major change in how girls see themselves and their future.
Sharpe- (1994) compared her two studies of WC girls in the 1970s and 1990s. She found that in the 70s girls' priorities = love, marriage, husbands, children, jobs, and careers. They saw their future in terms of a domestic role, not paid work.
In the 90s- priorities had switched to careers and being able to be independent.
Francis (2001) found that girls now had high career aspirations and so needed educational qualifications
Changes in the family
changes in the family since 1970s. 1) An increase in divorce rate 2) More lone parent families
3) More cohabition and a decrease in first marriages 4) Smaller families and more women staying single.
Changes in women's employment
There are now more employment opportunities for women than previously as a result of the expansion of the service sector- traditionally an area of women's work. Women's employment has rise from under half of married women ni the 1950s to about three quarters today.
Changes in the law have improved the position of working women.
The 1970 Equal Pay Act and the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act give women more employment rights.
Since 1975, the pay gap between men and women has almost halved.
As a result of these changes, girls today have more incentive to see their future in terms of paid work and this creates an incentive for them to gain qualifications.
Internal Factors And Girls' achievement
Equal Opportunities Policies. Boys and girls have an equal opportunity and are equally capable. This has become a social norm within education.
GIST AND WISE programmes to encourage girls into science and technology.
The National Curriculum - Girls and boys now largely study the same subjects. Making science compulsory has helped.
Meritocracy- Education now more meritocratic
Role Models - more female teachers and headteachers.
Coursework- Mitsos and Browne (1998) Girls do better in coursework than boys. Girls mature earlier and can concentrate for longer.