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The Relationship Between Social Class And Educational Achievement

2075 words - 8 pages

The Relationship Between Social Class and Educational Achievement

Many sociologists have tried to explore the link between social class
and educational achievement, measuring the effects of one element upon
the other. In order to maintain a definite correlation between the
two, there are a number of views, explanations, social statistics and
perspectives which must be taken into account. The initial idea would
be to define the key terms which are associated with how "social
class" affects "educational achievement." "Social class" is the
identity of people, according to the work they do and the community in
which they live in."Educational achievement" is the tendency for some
groups to do better or worse in terms of educational success.

Research reveals that the higher the social class, the higher the
levels of educational achievement are likely to be. The children of
parents in higher social classes are more likely to stay on in post
compulsory education, more likely to achieve examination passes when
at school, and more likely to gain university entrance. These features
painted a true picture of British education in the twentieth century
and can be argued to follow this trend today. However, whether there
has been any reduction in the inequalities is more debatable, but some
research suggests that these inequalities are as great as ever,
despite the overall improvements within the education system.

Many researchers argue that IQ tests are biased in favour of the
middle class, since members of this group largely construct them. If
it is accepted that social classes and other groups have distinctive
subcultures and that this affects their performance in IQ tests, then
comparisons between such groups in terms of intelligence are invalid.

There is general agreement that intelligence is due to both genetic
and environmental factors. Genetically based intelligence accounts for
a large part of the difference in social class and educational
attainment. Eysenck argues that there is better evidence for the
influence of genes on educational attainment than there is on
environmental factors. So, there is a relationship between the two
factors, however the contexts of these are unclear.

Halsey et al. conducted one of the most thorough studies of class
inequalities in education of males who had studied in England and
Wales. Clear class differences were established which enabled the
sample to be divided into three groups according to the father's
occupation. The samples included service class (professionals,
administrators and managers), the intermediate class (Clerical, sales
workers, self employed) and the working class (manual workers in
industry and agriculture). Halsey at al. found that there was a
correlation between social classes and educational achievement, in
that a boy...

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