Examine the role of processes in schools in producing different educational achievement among pupils from different social groups.
Differential educational achievement is unquestionable affected by different social groups however this is not the only factor that affects the educational success of students.
Members of working class place a lower value on education, they place less emphasis on formal education as a means to personal achievement, and they see less value in continuing school beyond the minimum leaving age. They place a lower value on achieving higher occupational status, when evaluating jobs they place emphasis on stability, security and immediate economic benefits and tend to reject the risks and investments involved in aiming for high status occupations. Job horizons tend therefore to be limited to a good trade. Manual and non-manual jobs account for differences in outlook and attitude, middle-class occupations provide an opportunity for continuous advancement in income and status but this is not the case for manual workers. They reach full earning capacity relatively quickly and are provided fewer opportunities for promotion. This would therefore affect the attitude of parents and this attitude and outlook on life would be passed on to the next generation. Pupils from working class origins would be socialized in certain situations, e.g. fatalism, immediate gratification, present time orientation and collectivism.
Parental interests in their children education effects school achievement, middle class parents express interest in their children progress, they are more likely to want their children to do well and stay at school beyond the minimum leaving age level and so will encourage them to do so. Middle class children also tend to receive greater stimulus from their parents in the early years, which forms a basis for high achievement in the educational system. Different social groups have different life experiences and chances, the habitats of each group will be different and will lead individuals to make certain choices regarding behaviour. Through up bringing and education, people learn to be able to express good taste; those with legitimate taste can mix in the most culturally advantaged circles. This gives students with higher-class backgrounds more chance of success in education. Social inequality is reproduced in the educational system and as a result is legitimated, and is particularly effective in maintaining the power of the dominant classes.
Social class is not the only thing that affects educational achievement. Ethnicity has been seen to affect the educational attainment of pupils; research by Drew (1995) found that Afro-Caribbean males were at the bottom of each class group in terms of attainment.