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'Examine the sociological view that home factors are the key in explaining working class underachievement.'

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Introduction

'Examine the sociological view that home factors are the key in explaining working class underachievement.' Sociologists have looked at how social class affects how well people do at school (E.g. pupils from professional backgrounds are significantly more likely to enter higher education than those from unskilled backgrounds) and, as usual in sociology, different sociologists argue over which factor (E.g., processes inside school, material deprivation and cultural deprivation) is the most important in explaining working class underachievement. Some sociologists such as Eysenck (1971) have suggested that intelligent levels (which are measured through IQ tests) of different social classes account for differences in educational attainment (students underachieve because they are not as intelligent as other students); people are simply born more intelligent than others. Sociologists such as Eysenck argue that IQ tests show that intelligence is innate and inherited from parents. However, there is a social pattern of underachievement along the lines of social class thus other sociologists have criticised this explanation, arguing that a random pattern would be expected if intelligence was simply a result of biological differences. ...read more.

Middle

also found that teachers allowed pupils in the top streams access to higher levels of knowledge which the working class, in lower streams, didn't get access to. Therefore this limit that is placed on their knowledge can mean that the students won't do as well in exams. Anti-school subcultures (students in which may be disruptive in lessons, thus won't be paying attention in lessons, leading to lack of knowledge and therefore underachievement in exams) tend to form as a response to negative labelling and frustration with low status (being in low streams). Hargreaves (1975) found that those in bottom streams were more likely form anti-school subcultures and go against norms. Woods (1983) also found that, although there are a variety of reactions from school, negative reactions towards school were more likely to come from working class students. Although labelling, streaming and anti-subcultures are positive ways in trying to explain underachievement, as they look at experiences inside school, there are also limitations to these explanations. For example, these explanations don't look at how factors outside of school (such as cultural deprivation) ...read more.

Conclusion

Some sociologists say that working class children don't have the knowledge and values that help achievement. It may be things such as books, museum visits and parental interest and knowledge of education (which working class children lack experience with) that help middle class pupils succeed. Douglas (1964) thought that the level of parental interest was the most important factor in affecting achievement. He found that middle class parents (whose children achieve higher than those from the working classes) are more likely to visit schools for open evenings. However, some sociologists reject parental interest as an explanation for working class underachievement by mentioning that it may not be the case that working class parents are less interested in their children's education, but more of a case that they just might not be able to attend to do shifts that they work. As can be seen, there are a variety of factors that affect working class underachievement, none of which seem to have more of an effect than others. It may be that the key in explaining working class underachievement is in a combination of the explanations mentioned above. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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