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Sociology - Cultural Factors in Educational Attainment

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Introduction

´╗┐Outline and asses cultural explanation of Social class difference in educational achievement. Class differences in educational attainment have often been seen as a result of differences in class cultures. For example, a number of studies have argued that the values, attitudes and aspirations of parents have an important effect on their young people?s education. If these values and attitudes vary between social classes then this may account, at least in part, for class differences in educational attainment. Many sociologists support for what has become known as the Cultural deprivation theory. Cultural deprivation theory assumes that the culture of low income groups are inferior and this accounts for the low educational attainment of members of these groups and low groups have ?substandard? attitudes and values toward education. Hyman (1967), a functional sociologist, argues that the values of the working classes prevent them from performing well in education and being upwardly socially mobile. He indentified a number of differences between the cultures of the middle classes and the working classes. ...read more.

Middle

At class attainment, participating in higher education, the Youth Cohort Study (2005) found that in 2005 59% of 19 year olds from higher professional backgrounds and 19% of those from routine backgrounds were in higher education, equating to a 40% difference. Even though the working class is managing to rise in higher education the middle class keep the upper hand because of the risk they are able to afford because of their cultural capital. Douglas (1964), a functional sociologist, related educational attainment to his study which factored parental interest. Compared to the culturally deprived working class the middle class parents visited the school more frequently to discuss their children?s progress. They wanted their children to stay at school past the minimum school leaving age and they gave their children greater attention and stimulus during their early years. Feinstein (2005) provides some support for Douglas?s work as findings demonstrate a similar pattern to Douglas?s. Summing up that cultural deprivation doesn?t affect the middle class. ...read more.

Conclusion

argues the more cultural capital young people have, the greater their chance of educational success- of high grades at GSCE and A level and a place at top universities such as Oxford and Cambridge. He argue that middle class pupils have higher success rates than working class students because middle class students are closer to the dominant culture. In opposition, Sullivan (2001) attempted to challenge to test Bourdieu?s theory by designing a questionnaire made to measure cultural capital. However Sullivan only seemed to support Bourdieu?s theory. She seemed to reveal l strong links between social capital and social class, pupils with the highest scores tended to be the sons and daughters of university educated professionals. Other factors other than Cultural capital seems to be the cause most of the class differences in educational attainment. Sullivan proposes that the factors include ?material deprivation? and ?Parental interests?. In conclusion, the differences in class cultures have been shown to affect the result of the class differences in education attainment. By taking risks, having a limited interest in education, and dominating other cultures, the differences in social classes influence educational achievement in distinctive ways. ...read more.

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