Assess the Claim That Social Class Differences in Education Achievement Are Primarily the Result of School Factors (20 Marks)

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Assess the claim that social class differences in education achievement are primarily the result of school factors (20 marks)

The claim that social class differences in education through school factors is supported by the interactionists such as George H. Mead. They believe that labelling theory encourages the educational achievement in different social classes. The labelling theory is when the teacher identifies major characteristics of a student. Research shows that teachers are more likely to label middle class children as 'bright and well behaved' but working class children as 'naughty and disruptive'. Following the label being attached on the child is self fulfilling prophecy, this is when the child will respond and act according to the label being placed on them, so a middle class student will act well behaved and complete the work that is set whereas the working class student will disrupt and not complete the work set and therefore not do well in exams. This shows that labelling working and middle class students affects the educational achievements because of their social class.

However George H. Mead can be criticised by material/cultural deprivation. Material deprivation is when the child doesn't have the right equipment for school e.g. books, and cultural deprivation is when the children haven't been given the correct norms and values for attitudes to education. This shows that it is not only school factors that affect the differences in education achievement but it is also home factors.

Marxists such as Willis would argue that counter school subcultures are the reason why different social class are achieving and underachieving. He claims that working class boys reject the whole idea of school and see school as a place of laughs and a matter of amusement because they do not have the correct norms and values, the see schools as boring so the disrupt lessons and breaking school rules. This behaviour will lead to low grades and therefore low...
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