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Differential Educational Achievement
1.Class
Class differences in educational attainment have
persisted since 1950’s
Students from middle class backgrounds pass more
exams, stay on more at school and are more likely to
go to university
WHY IS THIS??
Differential Educational Achievement
1.Class
Are the Middle Class more intelligent ?
There is general agreement that
intelligence is due to:
The genes inherited from parents
The environment in which children grow
up
Differential Educational Achievement
IQ tests are popular but are
widely criticised by
sociologists
IQ results are unreliable –
your score can vary over
time
IQ tests are culturally biased
I expressed in middle class
vocabulary
1.Class
Differential Educational Achievement
IQ Tests
They favour the MC because of the
language used
Motivation and previous experience can
affect performance
Bowles & Gintis (Marxists) 1976 found
no link between IQ and educational
and economic success
1.Class
Differential Educational Achievement
1.Class
Class Subcultures
JWB Douglas 1964
Key factor was parental interest
MC parents gave greater attention to
children’s education than WC
MC parents expected more from their
children and gave more rewards
The WC seen are “culturally deprived”
Differential Educational Achievement
1.Class
Criticisms
Blackstone & Mortimore 1994
WC parents do care as much as MC
But WC parents feel less confident
about dealing with schools Douglas sounds a bit too much like
“Blame the victim”
Differential Educational Achievement
Bernstein 1972 – Language Codes
Restricted Code of the working
class not suited to academic
study
Shorthand speech
Grammatically simple
Meanings don’t need to be
made explicit
“Get out of that puddle”
1.Class
Differential Educational Achievement
1.Class
Bernstein 1972 – Language Codes
Elaborated Code – middle class
More complex speech
Details and explanations are given
“Get out of that puddle because the
water will get in your shoes and
make your socks wet and
uncomfortable”
Differential Educational Achievement
1.Class
Bernstein believed that MC kids could
use both codes, switching when the
need arose
The greater use of the restricted code
amongst WC families
led to WC kids suffering a disadvantage
at school
where the more formal elaborated code
was more common.
Differential Educational Achievement
1.Class
Class Subcultures
Bourdieu (A Marxist Sociologist) – Cultural
capital
Cultural Capital – the education system is
biased towards the MC
It uses knowledge and skills of MC culture
MC kids therefore have an advantage over
WC kids
Differential Educational Achievement
1.Class
Class Subcultures
Ball, Bowe & Gewirtz 1994
Cultural Capital gives MC parents more advantages
Their contacts and knowledge mean they play the
system
They have more ‘stamina’ for researching schools and
appeals etc
They can afford to move to areas where ‘good’ schools
are or pay for travel etc
Differential Educational Achievement
1.Class
Class Subcultures
Smith & Noble 1994
Schools in wealthy middle class areas
areas are better equipped
Parents with money provide more
educational aids – computers, books,
private tutors etc
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