Last Updated 02 Apr 2020

Using Material from Item a and Elsewhere

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Using material from item A and elsewhere assess the view that social class differences in educational achievement are the result of school processes such as labelling. Social class is typically known as social grouping or hierarchy based on differences in wealth, income or occupation. In the UK there are mainly two social classes; working class and middle class. 33% of students who are currently on free school meals achieve 5A*-C at GCSE, however 61% of students who are not on free school meals also achieve 5A*-C grades. 0% of the failing school are from deprived areas, and 79% of children from a higher professional family are more likely to go to university, whilst only 15% of children from unskilled and manual backgrounds go to work. Sub cultures are a group of people within society who share the same norms, values, beliefs and attitude that go against the main stream in society. This is usually different from or opposed to the main stream culture, for instance an anti-school subculture is more likely to be formed by pupils in lower streams.

This is backed up by “They have examined the way in which labelling is linked to other processes within schools that result in class differences in achievement” (Item A) “These processes include self-fulfilling prophecy, streaming and the formation of pupil subcultures” (Item A) Therefore working class children will underachieve and middle class children will continue to progress. This can disadvantage working class children because of the use of home and school contracts.

The education triage for working class are labelled as “hopeless cases” which then produces a selffulfilling prophecy and failure, which then leads to working class children going under stereotypical ideas. However, some labelled students go against their label to prove teachers wrong, which pushes them to do just as well as middle class children. Labelling is to attach a meaning or definition. Typically teachers label students as, bright, thick or hardworking. This usually affects working class students as they are labelled ‘thick’.

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This is backed up from item A “some sociologists explain social class differences in achievement in terms of school processes such as labelling” According to Cicourel and Kitsuse teachers judge students according to their ability, social class and race. Labelling can lead to self fulfilling prophecy where the student will accept the label and do what is expected of that particular label. However, this can advantage working class children to work against their label and achieve the best possible grades.

According to the Sutton Trust 80% of ethnic minority pupils aspire to go to university. This goes on to show that labelling working class children can affect their final grade. Another process that school use that affect educational achievement is streaming. This process is when students are put into groups according to capability. “These processes include the self-fulfilling prophecy, streaming and the formation of pupil subcultures” (Item A). Becker begins to believe that the capability groups are those who will pass, those who might pass and those who will not pass.

However, Stephen Ball takes the analysis a step further to abolish banding, in favour of teaching mixed ability groups. This has created new opportunities for schools and teachers. This is to differentiate between pupils on the basis of their class, ethnicity or gender and to not treat them unequally. Therefore showing that streaming is a major factor in underachievement. Finally Self-fulfilling prophecy can affect educational achievement. This process consists of a prediction that comes true simply by virtue of it having it being made.

This can affect those less able because it foes against the main stream. This is backed up by “Gilbourn and Youdell have examined the role of educational policies in creating the context for such school processes to take place” (Item A) Gilbourn and Youdell shows how teachers notions of ability conclude to their decisions of which pupils have the potential to achieve 5A*-C grade gcse’s. Neil Keddie then argues that the more intelligent students get taught more complex and advanced information and methods while the students in the lower sets are not recognised and being left behind.

However Rosenthal and Jacobson performed an experiment where they picked random students from the class who were also working class and told teachers they are able to improve, this later resulted in teachers spending more time with these ‘selected’ students which made them improve and achieve better. Therefore showing that self-fulfilling prophecy can have an effect in education underachievement. To conclude sub cultures, labelling, streaming and self-fulfilling prophecy can effect education underachievement, due to social class, gender and race.

Being labelled tends to be based on your social class, where you will be labelled between smart and dumb. Streaming is typically based on your ability on whether you’re smart or dumb. Also, sub cultures and self-fulfilling prophecy is known to go under all social class, gender and race as it is a group of people who tend to go against the norms, beliefs and values of mean stream sub culture. However education underachievement cannot just be a social class difference, it has internal factors as well as external factors.

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