Sociology. Using material from item A and elsewhere, assess the view that factors and processes within the school are the main cause of differences in the educational achievement of different social groups. (20 marks) Streaming: pupils are placed in a class on the basis of their general ability. They remain in that class for most subjects. Banding: is a less rigid form of streaming.
Using material from Item A and elsewhere, asses the view that factors and processes within the school are the main cause of differences in the educational achievement of different social groups. Class differences can play a significant role in educational achievement be it under or over-achievement. Underachievement is associated with working-class children, as when they are young they are identified as W/C and then labelled. This view was put forward by Becker (1971) who identified in his study that teachers did not view W/C children as ideal pupils. Their work, appearance and conduct were all factors the teachers based their label around.
Aaron Cicourel and John Kitsuse’s study of educational counsellors in an American High school shows how labelling can disadvantage working-class students and it states in item A that ‘they were negatively labelled as non-academic and often as ‘difficult’’. This is because counsellors play an important role in deciding which students will get onto courses that prepare them for higher education. They found from their study that although they claimed to judge them on their ability, in practice they mainly judged them on the basis of their social class and/or race. Even where students had similar grades, counsellors were more likely to label middle-class
Fundamentally, one factor which contributes to the ethnic differences within the school place is due to the labeling theory. This is when a particular definition is attached to a student such as ‘smart’ or ‘stupid’ this often leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy as the student begins to believe the label they have been branded as and therefore begins to act upon it. Some sociologists have focused on how black pupils are labeled negatively which has a direct impact on their education. Gillborn & Youdell (2000) found that black pupils were more likely to receive discipline from their teacher although fellow classmates may have been acting in a similar way. This leads to further problems as conflict begins to emerge between teachers and pupils as black pupils are seen as anti-authority due to the misinterpretation of behaviour black boys especially, are labelled negatively leading exclusions which affect their educational attainment as missing lessons means that their knowledge is being limited.
Sociology AS for AQA One for you to try Education p 243 Item B There is considerable evidence to show that pupils from some ethnic-minority backgrounds fall behind in school, particularly during the secondary phase. These include Black, Pakistani and Bangladeshi pupils. By contrast, Indian and Chinese pupils do better than average. There are also class and gender differences in achievement within all these groups, just as there among White pupils. One explanation for these patterns of achievement lies in the school itself and the processes at work there.
Summary In the article Profoundly Multicultural Questions by Sonia M. Nieto she addresses the issue of students of multi-cultural backgrounds and the problems which they are facing in the school system. Nieto highlight the difference in the amount of money and technology available for children of different socioeconomic backgrounds, the marginalization of minority students and the struggles they face from educators and the school system. Abstract In his book Youth and Identity Erickson (1968) relates ego identity and self-esteem to racial identity. He further states that ambiguous messages about one’s race may place at person at risk for developing what he referred to as a “negative identity” (oka 199 pg.3) Minority children faces those issues everyday of their lives and then they are placed in class rooms where teachers don’t understand and appreciate their diversity. A teacher’s appreciation and acceptance for diversity will help them enable children to child gain a positive self-concept.
If a W.C student is labelled by a middle-class (M.C) teacher the student often believe that the teacher is right therefore they take that label they have been given and they become a self-fulfilling prophecy which means they accept the label they have been given and stay that standard, this is basically saying if a student is labelled negatively they stay negative because they are ‘fulfilling their own prophecy’ so they are now going to underachieve in education. This is effected by poverty due to W.C generally not being able to afford nice uniforms so the teacher can tell they come from a W.C background because they don’t look as smart as the M.C students. Another reason in the claim that poverty is the main reason for W.C underachievement is because they are generally more fatalistic. If a W.C child is fatalistic in school then it means that they are also culturally deprived, because they are culturally deprived they have attitudes which insist that they are not going to do well in school because for example their parents didn’t then they will not try to get an education as they are fatalistic about being setup to fail in
On the one hand it could be said that it is down to discrimination in schools that there is evidence of ethnic differences in educational achievement. One example of discrimination in schools is labelling and teacher racism. Interactionists focus on the different labels teachers give to children from different ethnic backgrounds. Their studies show that teachers often see black and Asian pupils as being far from the ‘ideal pupil’. For example black pupils are often seen as disruptive.
Explainining class differences in achievement Cultural deprivation theory blames the failings of the child on his/her background. This diverts the attention from the educational system which may contribute to, or account for, class differences in attainment. Cultural deprivation theorists argue that many working-class homes lack the books, educational toys and activities that would stimulate a child’s intellectual development. Bernstein and Young (1967) found that the way mothers think about and choose toys has an influence on their child’s intellectual development. Middle-class mothers are more likely to have more of an interest in their child’s intellectual development.
Assess the claim that ethnic differences in educational achievement are primarily the result of school factors (20 marks) Sociological research has challenged the view that ethnic differences in achievement reflect innate differences of intelligence and ability; this has become a view that very few sociologists now put forward. Ethnicity refers to the shared cultural traditions and history, which are distinct from other groups in society. The level of achievement of different ethnic groups varies greatly in Great Britain. This may be due to factors such as home background, class, language and in-school factors. Recent studies highlight the effects of racism.