Assess the Importance of Inside School Factors in Causing Social Class Differences in Educational Achievement

717 Words Jun 29th, 2013 3 Pages
Sociology explanations have suggested many different reasons for the class base differences in education achievement. Studies have shown that there is a 45% gap between classes in A* - C GCSE outcomes. It is suggested that the diversity in educational success between different classes are due to inside factors. These are factors within schools and the education system that could cause these differences.
One internal factor is labelling. To label someone is to attach a meaning or definition to them, which is done in schools between the different classes – especially by teachers as they usually label working class as negative because of their look, speech code (restricted) and attitude to learning. Becker’s study in 1971 is a prime example
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Sets refer to the subject ability based groups and streams refer to groups of students taught for all subjects in the same ability group – they are both forms of labelling. Some studies show that middle class children are put into the higher sets and streams whereas the working class are found lower down. This affects students because sets and streams determines which GCSE paper the students to (higher or foundation) and determines their grade. Also, students are more likely to socialise and form group with people in their sets and streams. Studies by sociologists have shown that setting and streaming actually have little impact on overall attainment but without it, it would divide the classes.
Another internal factor is the hidden curriculum which is theorised by Marxist sociologists. The hidden curriculum refers to what’s taught in schools but does not conform to the official curriculum and which is not openly discussed or agreed upon. Examples of these are obedience, politeness and equality. There is an unspoken agreement, for example, that if you look at which students constitute the bottom sets in school, that they will be primarily working class boys.
Lastly, pupil subcultures are an internal factor that affects achievement. Subcultures are the end result of the labelling process as those who are mainly the working class end up in anti-school subcultures and those with positive, mainly the middle class…

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