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would like to investigate it the achievement of middle class students obtaining their GCSE is a direct result of parental interest and contribution

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Introduction

Rationale I would like to investigate it the achievement of middle class students obtaining their GCSE is a direct result of parental interest and contribution. The hypothesis I am going to research is ''Middle class pupils, in Manchester Secondary schools, who achieve at GCSE, is a result of a high level of parental interest'' I will be using the theory Liberal functionalism to focus on the amount of interest parents give towards their children's schoolwork as this concentrates on the impact of home factors on a pupil's achievement. My reasons for conducting this study is because whilst doing my GCSE's I had a great deal of encouragement from my parents and achieved good high grades. This associates with the work of Douglas, who stated, 'High parental interest is closely linked to high attainment at GCSE level'. In order to test my hypothesis I will have the following aims: 1. To define the key terms of 'Social Class' and 'Parental Interest' 2. To study the difference in grades between working and middle class students at GCSE level 3. To test my hypothesis by a review of Secondary contextual sources and through my own questionnaire survey. Objectives: 1. I expect to find that there is still a dramatic difference in GCSE results favouring the middle classes. 2. To show that parental participation and involvement is a key factor of pupils achieving their grades. I will use a questionnaire as my method as it will enable me to draw a direct comparison between middle and working class students and the impact of parental interest. ...read more.

Middle

This exemplifies my second objective. When parents are not involved, their children receive lower grades, and are more likely to drop out, and have poorer homework habits (Baker and Stevensons, 1986, Epstein, 1982). Parental involvement is a powerful predictor of school success, regardless of ethnicity, parent education, family structure, or gender (Bogenschneider, 1997). This demonstrates a link to social class. Liberal Functionalist, Douglas has identified parental interest as the major factor stating, 'High Interest is closely linked to high attainment, good results in GCSE level examinations and a long school life in the next generation, whereas low interest is associated with poor performance and early leaving' Douglas related educational attainment to a variety of factors, including the student's health, the size of the family, and the quality of the school. The single most important factor appeared to be the degree of parents' interest in their children's education. Douglas had argued that middle class parents had frequent visits to their children's school to monitor their progress. They much preferred to see the head teacher as oppose to seeing the class teachers about their children's work. They were also more likely to want their children to stay at school beyond the minimum leaving age and to encourage them to do so. In contrast to working class parents, Douglas mentions that they were just happy in seeing their children's class tutors and class teachers about their children's progress. They did not have very high aspirations for their children doing further education. ...read more.

Conclusion

The data suggested it made a big difference if parents were very interested in how their children were doing. Feinstein states: 'In tests of maths attainment the improvement between 11 and 16 of children whose parents exhibited high interest in education was 15% points greater than those of children whose parents exhibited no interest. By comparison, the average advantage of having two parents who both stayed on at school beyond the minimum leaving age and a father in a professional occupation was only 2% for maths' He suggests that the positive effects of parental interest operate through 'motivation, discipline and support'. I believe social class will also play a major role here, as I believe there values will be typical of the middle class. It is now clear to see that in line with several Liberal functional sociologists that parental interest does play a major role in the educational achievement of both middle and working class. However it Liberal Functionalist perspectives are criticised by Marxists who argue that Liberal Functionalists fail to discuss the power of the middle class and ruling class who manipulate the education system to their own advantage. Symbolic Interactionists also argue that the Liberal Functionalists fail to study in school factors such as 'labelling' which teachers may do so due to stereotyping and discriminating based on social class. Interactionists also point out that this Liberal Functionalists is very deterministic suggesting that the middle class are only achieving higher in their studies due to high parental interest, involvement, participation and also due to social class. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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