Social Class Differences in Achievement - Internal Factors

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LABELLING - (linked to interactionist theory) -  attaching a meaning/definition to someone. Studies show teachers label based on social class e.g. BECKER - studied 60 Chicago high school teachers, each had image of ‘ideal pupil.’ MC = ‘ideal’. WC = furthest from ‘ideal’ and disruptive.

SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY - when someone takes on a label they have been given. The teacher labels a pupil, treats them based on the label then the student internalises (takes on) the label e.g. ROSENTHAL & JACOBSON (AO3) told teachers at a school they had a new test designed to identify spurters - this was in fact a standard IQ test. They then selected 20% of students at random and told teachers these were the future spurters. When they returned to the school a year later 47% of the “spurters” showed significant progress- it was argued this was due to how the teachers treated those students.

  • Studies show teachers are more likely to positively label MC students/put them in top sets & negatively label WC students/put them in lower sets. This may demotivate them - causing a SFP.

  • In mixed ability classes, teachers differentiate- treat students differently - e.g. give higher level work to MC students.

  • AO3 - some argue labelling theory is too deterministic - it assumes labels determine how students behave - but they could reject them.

SETTING/STREAMING -  setting = different ability groups for different subjects. Streaming = same ability groups


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