Social class differences in educational achievement

Topics: Social class, Middle class, Working class Pages: 4 (1268 words) Published: March 14, 2014

Assess sociological explanations for social class differences in educational achievement (24 marks)

It can be explained that some social class differences within pupils can have an effect on the educational achievement of a child. I will therefore evaluate these factors in my essay.

The Intelligence Quotient (IQ) theory is used to clearly identify intelligence. It can be measured accurately via IQ tests. The data produced by this test indicates clear social class differences in intelligence. It can be seen that those from working-class backgrounds have weaker intelligences, drawn from the IQ tests than middle-class students. Research on identical twins suggests that up to 80% of the variation in intelligence among individuals can be explained by genetic factors. Environmental factors, therefore, are less important than inherited IQ as determinants of intelligence.

This theory can be criticised as some sociologists may state that intelligence cannot be defined clearly or accurately by IQ tests. These tests may be culturally biased. Some students may also not be at their best when they take the tests, whereas, others may not take the tests seriously. Students’ IQ test scores can improve with practice, suggesting that they do not measure fundamental intelligence. The relative importance of genetic and environmental factors in determining intelligence is unknown but genetic factors are likely to be as significant as suggested by IQ theorist. Some studies suggest working class students with high IQ scores are still more likely to leave school at an early age, thus suggesting environmental factors are important.

The relative educational underachievement of working class students is explained by their cultural deprivation.

Bernstein sought the distinction between the restricted code and the elaborated code. The elaborated code is the one which, in the adult language, would be generally associated with formal situations, the restricted code that...
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