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Is working class underachievement better explained by factors inside or outside the school?

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  • Essay length: 2826 words
  • Submitted: 12/08/2003
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GCSE Sociology

The first 200 words of this essay...

IS WORKING CLASS UNDERACHIEVEMENT BETTER EXPLAINED BY FACTORS INSIDE OR OUTSIDE THE SCHOOL?

The extent of working class underachievement in the British Educational System has been a very important subject for discussion in sociology research. Working class children underachieve considerably compared to the achievement attained by a middle class child at every level of education including SAT's, GCSE's, A-levels and degrees. Early research focused on reasons outside the school such as a child's background, neighbourhood and class values. The results of the research developed the idea that the working classes were maybe culturally deprived. In the 1960's and 1970's opinions changed and it suggested that factors within the school such as streaming and setting, labelling and the hidden curriculum was to blame for a child's underachievement. In the last ten years sociologists have returned to the idea that external factors are the reason for differential attainment.

Barry Sugarman argues that one of the reasons for underachievement in a working class child's education is the child's attitude, which is brought into the school and is already an established part of the working class subculture. Therefore, they are already socialised in terms of this, he feels that this attributes

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