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“School Class Differences In Educational Achievement Are The Results Of Factors Within Home”

1680 words - 7 pages

“School class differences in educational achievement are the results of factors within home” only?

Differences in educational achievement can be assessed through three forms of stratification; social class, ethnicity and gender. Moreover, the main factor s which spill light on the matter are both the home and school factors.

For instance, the picture of academic achievement by social class is consistent. The survey of Halsey, Heath and Ridge (1980) showed that boys from the service class (top strata) had 40 times more chance of attending a public than a boy from the working class. Even after the abolition of the tripartite system, with 1944 Act, the chance of a working class boy to ...view middle of the document...

Nevertheless, Blackstone and Mortimore argue that the fact that working class parents go less often to school, do not necessarily suggest that they are not interested in their wards’ education but instead, are unable to do so, as their manual jobs involved more longer time than non- manual work.

A variant of Douglas and Feinstein’s approach, is adopted by the American sociologist Herbert H. Herbert (1967) who argue that the ‘the value system of the lower classes creates a self-imposed barrier to an improved position’. He outlined the following differences between the working and middle class value systems- members of the working class place a lower value on achieving high occupational status, on education, and believe there is less opportunity for personal achievement. Hyman did, however, agree that not all members of the working class did share those values and that a sizeable minority did not share them.

Another important point, the British sociologist Sugarman (1970) emphasized, is that middle class and working class subcultures (cultures within a culture with some norms and values distinct from those of the minority of the whole) contain different attitudes and orientations which may account for class difference in educational achievement. He claims that working class subculture emphasizes fatalism- involving the acceptance of the situation rather than efforts to improve, immediate gratification- enjoyment of the pleasures of the moment rather than sacrifices for future reward, present-time orientation reduce the motivation for academic achievement and ultimately collectivism which involves loyalty to the group rather the emphasis on individual achievement which the school system demands. Thus, the subculture of pupils of working class background places them at a disadvantaged position.

Basil Bernstein, an English sociologist, suggested that class differences in speech pattern which he distinguished two forms of pattern which he termed as restricted code (kind of shorthand speech) and elaborated code (explicitly verbalizes many of the meanings that are taken for granted in a restricted code). The first operating on particularistic standards while the latter on universalistic standards. For instance, Bernstein’s research involved showing children from different classes, cartoon pictures which told a story and asking them to write down what was happening. Children who were used to elaborated code could write the story in full details so that the pictures were not needed to understand. Working class children who used a restricted code, wrote the bare bones of the story, and pictures were vital to get an understanding. Thus, as formal education is conducted in elaborated code, this places working class children at a disadvantaged because they tend to be to be limited to restricted code. However, Harold Rosen (1974) attacks these arguments for generalising when Bernstein says that all working class children have a restricted code and...

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