Assess the view that poverty is the main cause of social-class differences in achievement.
Social class differences in pupils’ home background play a key role in causing differences in educational achievement. The material factor with the most impact on differences in achievement is poverty and this is the lack of the physical necessities in life, such as adequate housing, diet and income. It causes children to achieve badly academically and it most affects the working class. Poverty can cause working class underachievement in that a poor living environment could consist of overcrowding, and so pupils don’t have a quiet place to study and work efficiently. Also, the lack of a balanced diet can lead to absences from school and it also falters their concentration in class due to hunger. Little or no income at all sums up the above mentioned factors that affect a pupil’s achievement level. Having a low income affects educational achievement in several ways e.g. lack of educational materials such as books and computers with internet access, lack of the appropriate uniform, and inability to afford school trips that develop a pupil’s achievement positively. Cultural deprivation and material deprivation are different; however, they have a common link that explains how they affect educational achievement. Item A indicates that children of parents in the higher social classes are already further up the scale of educational development from as early as 22 months. Bourdieu shows how both factors link together to produce class inequalities in achievement using the cultural capital theory. The argument is that middle class pupils are more successful than working class pupils because their parents possess more ‘capital’. This capital comes in two forms i.e. wealth and values. The middle class use their greater economic capital to provide their children with an advantage, thus reproducing the advantages of the middle class from generation to generation and so there will...
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