Topic 2 - class differences in achievment, internal factors

This card is about the labelling theory and Marketisation in education.

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  • Created by: Jack
  • Created on: 04-05-12 09:13


This theory is the thought that teachers give pupils titles such as bright or trouble making. Studies have shown the teachers don't label these pupils based on ability, but instead on their class background, naming middle class pupils positivly and working class pupils negatively. This has been found to happen at all levels of school.

Howard Becker (1971), found in a secondry school the teachers "label" the pupils based on how closely they match to "the ideal pupil". Obviously this means working class children will be labelled negative as the teachers "ideal pupil" is likely to be middle class.

Ray Rist (1970), studied an American kindergarten and found the same applied. The used used their stereotypical appearance and class to put the kids in groups, placing the "tigers" ,who were middle class children closer to her and showed them greater encouragement and help. The "cardinal" and "clowns" were put at the back of the class and she didn't let them try to use their abilities nearly as much as the "tigers" . This meant middle class children gained the gelp they needed but working class children were ignored.

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Marketisation and selection policies

Marketisation, started in 1988 by the Education Reform Act, encourages competition between schools in "selling" their school to  parents who chosse to send their children a school. One way they can do this  is through exam results where each school is ranked according to the percentage of pupils who gain A* - C GCSE's.

In order to go up the table,schools are under pressure  to stream and select pupils which can widen the class gap. For instance Gilborn and Youndell say schools sort children into differnet catergories, those who will pass anyway, those who have potenial and hopeless cases. Because of the labeling theory by teachers, working class pupils are often called "hopeless cases" regardless of their ability.

Marketisation also gaps the schools, as popular schools can afford to " cream skim" and select higher level ability pupils and "silt shift" by offloading less able pupils who are expensive to teach and get poor results. This means less popular schools have to take the pupils who are left, usually working class, further dragging down their results. 

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Alan Cook

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