Social Class Differences in Achievement - External Factors

  • TRENDS - in 2010, 83% of students from higher professional (MC) backgrounds (e.g. parents are doctors) got 5 A*-C grades at GCSE compared to 44% of students from routine (WC) backgrounds e.g. parents are sales assistants.




CULTURAL DEPRIVATION - the view that WC students lack the attitudes & values to do well as they are poorly socialised. There are 3 elements to it:

  • Intellectual development - WC children score less well on intelligence tests than MC students. DOUGLAS says this is because their parents don’t read to them or buy them educational toys.

  • AO3 - WC parents may not be able to afford educational toys - suggests that material deprivation rather than cultural deprivation causes underachievement.

  • Linguistic deprivation - BERNSTEIN argues the WC speak in restricted code (simple grammar, limited vocabulary & context bound) while the MC speak elaborated code (complex grammar, wider vocab, not context bound) - as teachers speak elaborated code & it isn’t taught in schools, this means MC students are more able to express ideas and can understand teachers, unlike WC students.

  • Attitudes & values (1) - DOUGLAS argues that WC parents value education less than MC parents - which demotivates their children e.g. they don’t attend parents’ evening.

  • AO3 - some argue that WC parents may not be able to attend parents’ evening due to working, or are put off by the MC atmosphere of school.

  • Attitudes & values (2) - SUGARMAN argues that the WC seek immediate gratification (wanting pleasure now) - they leave education ASAP to work & also don’t focus on achieving grades while in school. The MC seek deferred gratification (putting off pleasure for greater rewards later), so work hard in school to stay in education. The WC are also fatalistic - they don’t believe they can change their fate & so don’t work hard in education.

  • AO3 - KEDDIE argues that WC children aren’t


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