Assess Sociological Explanations Of Ethnic Differences In Ethnic Achievement

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According to item A there are various differences in education. Firstly, there are various reasons for ethnic differences in achievement. Some of these result from external factors like the home background. However they are also influenced by internal factors. This essay will assess whether the home background is a primary factor concerning differences in ethnic achievement or whether internal factors are just as significant. It will also consider the impact post modernity has had on these differences and whether this has caused them to diminish slightly. Initially, the item suggests that ‘sociologists have explained the poorer performance of some ethnic groups in terms of home background factors.’ One of these fundamental factors is the…show more content…
It is significant to ethnicities because they tend to be working class and in lower income families. For example, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis are over three times more likely than whites to be in the poorest fifth of the population. Also, unemployment is three times higher. These explain why Bangladeshi and Pakistani pupils tend to underachieve compared to white and Indian pupils as they face higher levels of poverty. This is supported by the Swann Report which suggests that social class accounts for at least 50% of achievement differences. However, Gillborn and Mirza suggest that social class isn’t as influential as ethnicity as even Black pupils from middle class backgrounds still perform poorly compared to others of the same class. Thus, underachievement cannot be primarily due to home background factors so others must account for the…show more content…
For example, Troyna and Williams suggest that the British curriculum is ethnocentric because it prioritises white culture and therefore is a prime example of institutional racism. Stephen Ball goes further by criticising the national curriculum as he suggests that it ignores cultural/ethnic diversity as it promotes ‘little Englandism.’ This according to Bernard Coard creates an inferior image of black people and leads to low self esteem and failure. Although this could explain reasons for ethnic differences in achievement outside of the home background, it isn’t clear how much of an impact it has. This is because, even though it may ignore cultures like Chinese, their achievement levels are higher than the national average and therefore the curriculum cannot be that significant. Also, even with post modern society placing more emphasis on multi culturalism, the differences in achievement still remain. Supporting this, Richard Hatcher found that within school governing bodies there were no formal channels of communication between ethnic minority parents and school governors. As a result, minority pupils’ needs are continually disregarded not because of individual racism but because of racism that is built into the institution. Thus, with both the curriculum and institution being racist, differences in achievement
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