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To what extent do sociologists agree that different levels of educational attainment are affected by genetics?

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Introduction

To what extent do sociologists agree that different levels of educational attainment are affected by genetics? A sociologist would not agree that a student's genetic make up has an affect on their educational achievement. They would state that there is also no scientific evidence what so ever to explain or suggest that a person's chromosomes determine their successes within the education system. Instead, they would suggest that the patterns in differences of educational attainment are down to social factors. A sociologist would explain the differences in terms of human social life, groups and societies. Sociologists aim to investigate and understand the social world and human behaviour within it. They are particularly interested in the way society influences us and shapes our lives. In the past it was assumed that some strata of society were superior to others because they inherited intelligence or artist abilities along with their physical appearance from their parents. This belief in "genetic endowment" has been challenged over the past one hundred years and the "nature vs. nurture" debate continues. Many definitions have been given to explain the nature of intelligence. ...read more.

Middle

Also it has been argued that it is common for the lower groups of the streaming process tend to be from the working class. Whereas the students of the higher streams tended to be from the middle class. This could be due to more wealth meaning better educational assistance, e.g. tutoring, books and equipment, etc. leading to better educational attainment. However, it could also be due to labelling theory. The school culture tends to be middle class, e.g. type of speech etc. although schools vary in their educational objectives. They therefore, tend to enforce middle class values. Teachers are middle class and unavoidably make judgements about pupils. These judgements often affect the child's chances of educational achievement. The idea of the theory is that a teacher labels a student, according to their class by their, speech and family background. If a student is labelled in such ay to be in the working class, then the teacher may not have belief in them achieving educational success and therefore not offer them as much encouragement or push them to do better. This therefore causes these students to not seek for higher opportunities and not reach their full potential. ...read more.

Conclusion

This therefore puts them at a disadvantage within school. This may lead to students feeling less capable and confident when it comes to oral and written work, affecting their achievement levels and possible causing a self-fulfilling prophecy. In the same way, teachers label males and the middle class to be less capable, they also tend to label ethnic minorities. These stereotypes mean that there are again differences in the way ethnic groups are taught and treated, affecting how they perform within the education system. In conclusion, a sociologist would disagree that differences in genetics affect educational attainment of individuals. They would not argue that biological factors cause the differences in achievement, but would suggest that the patterns of underachievement etc. are due to the way society influences human behaviour. Sociologists have spent much time investigating the influence of social class, ethnicity and gender differences. It is hard to differentiate between the affect of one factor and the affect of another. Therefore, sociologists agree that educational attainment is effected in many different ways and that no one factor can out-influence another. They also agree that the "nature vs. nurture" argument is not fully resolved as society will ever be changing and scientific research and abilities will ever be improving. ?? ?? ?? ?? Lucy Hagan 11d1 - Sociology ...read more.

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