School Is the Most Important Factor in Children's Achievement Essay

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Examine the view that the school is the most important factor in children’s achievement. The school is an essential factor in a child’s achievement. However there are many other factors that contribute to their achievement that are vital too. The school performs vital factors that affect children’s achievement. These factors include, labelling, streaming and the self fulfilling prophecy and pupil subcultures. Studies have shown that teachers often attach labels regardless of the pupil’s actual ability or attitude. Instead, they label pupils on the basis of stereotyped assumptions – working class are labelled negatively and middle class are labelled positively. This puts the working class pupils at a disadvantage as they are labelled. However, not only just the pupils are labelled, the knowledge they are taught can also be labelled. Nell Keddie (1971) found, both pupils and knowledge can be labelled as high or low status. Moreover, streaming separates pupils into different ability groups that are taught separate things for all subjects. Studies show that the self-fulfilling prophecy is most likely to occur when children are streamed. Working class pupils tend to be labelled negatively and teachers tend to see them as lacking ability and therefore have low expectations of them hence they will be in the lower stream. Once they are streamed, it is hard to move up to a higher stream because of the low expectations of them. This creates a self-fulfilling prophecy in which pupils live up to their teacher’s low expectations of them by under-achieving. By contrast, middle class pupils tend to benefit from streaming as they are likely to be in the higher streams and having high expectations from teachers. In Stephan Ball’s a study of banding, he showed that banding had similar effects to streaming. Banding is a system in which pupils are grouped into ability bands.
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