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Examine the Role of Processes in Schools in Producing Different Educational Achievement Among Pupils from Different Social Groups.

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Examine the role of processes in schools in producing different educational achievement among pupils from different social groups.

Differential educational achievement is unquestionable affected by different social groups however this is not the only factor that affects the educational success of students.

Members of working class place a lower value on education, they place less emphasis on formal education as a means to personal achievement, and they see less value in continuing school beyond the minimum leaving age. They place a lower value on achieving higher occupational status, when evaluating jobs they place emphasis on stability, security and immediate economic benefits and tend to reject the risks and investments involved in aiming for high status occupations. Job horizons tend therefore to be limited to a good trade. Manual and non-manual jobs account for differences in outlook and attitude, middle-class occupations provide an opportunity for continuous advancement in income and status but this is not the case for manual workers. They reach full earning capacity relatively quickly and are provided fewer opportunities for promotion. This would therefore affect the attitude of parents and this attitude and outlook on life would be passed on to the next generation. Pupils from working class origins would be socialized in certain situations, e.g. fatalism, immediate gratification, present time orientation and collectivism.

Parental interests in their children education effects school achievement, middle class parents express interest in their children progress, they are more likely to want their children to do well and stay at school beyond the minimum leaving age level and so will encourage them to do so. Middle class children also tend to receive greater stimulus from their parents in the early years, which forms a basis for high achievement in the educational system. Different social groups have different life experiences and chances, the habitats of each group will be different and will lead individuals to make certain choices regarding behaviour. Through up bringing and education, people learn to be able to express good taste; those with legitimate taste can mix in the most culturally advantaged circles. This gives students with higher-class backgrounds more chance of success in education. Social inequality is reproduced in the educational system and as a result is legitimated, and is particularly effective in maintaining the power of the dominant classes.

Social class is not the only thing that affects educational achievement. Ethnicity has been seen to affect the educational attainment of pupils; research by Drew (1995) found that Afro-Caribbean males were at the bottom of each class group in terms of attainment. West Indian females, suffered from initial disadvantages at school but tend to do better than white students when the time comes to take GCSEs.Fuller suggests that the reason for this is that they may wish to present a ‘cool’ positive self image to boys and friends but realise the importance of getting good qualifications. Indian, Chinese and African-Asian students tend to do very well in the educational system, there is strong emphasis on self-improvement through education within these cultures and many of the children have professional backgrounds, providing support, appropriate role models and material advantages. Teachers perceive their culture more positively than West Indian males, as they tend to take fewer GCSEs and get poorer grades than any other group, are over represented in special schools for children who have behavioral or learning difficulties. These students tend to get expelled or suspended up to four times more often than their white counterparts. The length of time immigrants spend in Britain affects their educational attainment, older siblings educated here, are able to help their younger brothers and sisters.

Material deprivation has been used as a reason for differential educational achievement; certain groups have less money than others and so are not able to make the most of their educational opportunities. These students may lack time or space at home to do schoolwork, may be unable to raise the funds for educational trips and may not have access to essential educational materials like books, computers and the Internet. They may experience ill health and have to work part-time to support their studies, or have to care for younger siblings. As most ethnic minorities tend to be working-class, these material disadvantages translate in to educational disadvantages in the same way as they do for working class pupils. Governments have attempted to reduce the material disadvantages faced by working class pupils through positive discrimination; this takes the form of programs of compensatory education, which plough more resources into poorer areas.

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