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Education Achievement and Social Class

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Education and differences in educational achievement- past questions and mark schemes (CLASS, GENDER and ETHNICITY)

January 2006

(a) Explain what is meant by cultural capital. (Item 1A, line 8). (2 marks)

Two marks for an appropriate explanation or definition, such as the values, knowledge, attitudes, skills, tastes etc. possessed by the upper/middle class, or the values, knowledge etc. that give one class an educational advantage.

(c) Identify three features of the restricted speech code (Item 1A, lines 10-11). (6 marks)

Two marks for each of three appropriate features identified, such as: • used by the working class; • short/incomplete sentences; • often reduced to gestures; • context-bound/particularistic meanings/speaker assumes audience shares same frame of reference; • not used in education; • a product of repetitive, unskilled work; • a product of positional/rigid family structures.

(e) Examine the reasons why females now tend to achieve more than males in the education system. (20 marks)

Candidates will consider a range of reasons, such as the impact of feminism, equal opportunities policies, role models, changes in the family and work, changes in the curriculum and assessment, changes in girls aspirations, teacher attention and classroom interaction, selection, league tables etc. Concepts and issues such as meritocracy, patriarchy, pupil subcultures, labelling, de-industrialisation, marketisation, the hidden curriculum etc. may appear. Sources may include Epstein, Mac an Ghaill, Willis, Weiner, Kelly, Mitsos & Browne, Slee, David Jackson, Swann & Graddol, Pirie etc. Candidates may offer an evaluation, e.g. through consideration of gender variations in achievement in different sectors/levels of the education system or of the relative weight of internal/external factors.

(f) Using material from Item 1B...

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