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Critically assess explanations for differential educational achievement in relation to ethnicity

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Introduction

Critically assess explanations for differential educational achievement in relation to ethnicity Educational attainment is looked at as being able to complete a course of study successfully and be able to gain a qualification that may eventually lead to employment using those skills obtained. Children's educational attainment from all backgrounds can be influenced by in school and out of school factors. The in school factors are human, physical and financial resources and the out of school factors are those that relate to the background of the child's parents and the child's own personality. Educational performance and achievement can be down to many factors, such as ethnicity, social class or gender. Each of which can play a vitally important role in what many believe is achievable. Take social class for example, people believe that dependant on a child's class in the social world can have a greater influence on how that child performs in school. The same principle can be applied to Ethnicity, it is believe that certain races fair better than others and it is not always as straight forward as people think. It may be said that whites do better than blacks, however it is not always as clear-cut as this bold statement. ...read more.

Middle

It is also true to say that Indian youths are similarly disadvantaged even though the proportion of these youths attending good exam performance schools is higher than the aforementioned. Bernard Coard (1971) claims that the British educational system actually makes Afro-Caribbean children or other ethnicity's become educationally sub-normal by making them feel 'inferior in every way'. For example Afro-Caribbean children are told that their way of speaking is second rate and unacceptable. This is also seen in some Asian households where English is not the first language used. The Policy Studies Institute (PSI) Survey, found that lack of fluency in English was a significant problem for some groups. Amongst men nearly everyone spoke English fluently, however, amongst the women only about a fifth of Pakistani's and Bangladeshi's were not fluent. It is feared that if the child's first language is not English it may hold back the child. However, the Swann Report (1985) found that language was not a significant factor in educational attainment. The Swann Report investigated the question of social class and if it related to educational achievement. As it was widely thought that members of the lower social classes gained fewer qualifications and left the education system a lot sooner than those in middle or upper class. ...read more.

Conclusion

Some sociologists emphasise the positive and active part that pupils themselves play in determining how they react to the educational system. In conclusion it has been shown that there are a variety of explanations in regards to educational attainment within the ethnic groups. It is shown that not one factor out-weighs the other and that they all work together in producing the lower levels of achievement in some ethnic groups. The Swann Report itself concluded that racial discrimination inside and outside of school along with social depravation were probably the main factors. However, it is not conclusive in showing that the ethnic groups were less adjusted or achieved less than the rest of the population, as it clearly stated that Asian girls are shown as being the single most successful group in the entire British state education sector. From the evidence provided the Swann Report seems to be the strongest argument, as it has looked at every factor and the impact that ethnicity has had on education attainment. Although it strongly suggests that racial discrimination and social deprivation are the main factors in low educational attainment it also acknowledges that cultural factors can also play a part in explaining these differences between ethnic groups and the rest of the population. ...read more.

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