The Differences In Educational Achievement By Ethnicity

The Differences In Educational Achievement By Ethnicity

The Way Sociological Theories In Educational Inequality Help In Understanding Educational Experiences And Achievements Among Ethnic Minority Students.


TOC o “1-3” h z u HYPERLINK l “_Toc29426873” Introduction PAGEREF _Toc29426873 h 4

HYPERLINK l “_Toc29426874” 1. O: BACKGROUND INFORMATION PAGEREF _Toc29426874 h 4

HYPERLINK l “_Toc29426875” 1.1 PROBLEM STATEMENT PAGEREF _Toc29426875 h 7

HYPERLINK l “_Toc29426876” BROAD OBJECTIVES PAGEREF _Toc29426876 h 7


HYPERLINK l “_Toc29426878” RESEARCH QUESTIONS PAGEREF _Toc29426878 h 8


HYPERLINK l “_Toc29426880” 2.1 Class and educational inequality PAGEREF _Toc29426880 h 10

HYPERLINK l “_Toc29426881” 2.2 How gender manifest itself in educational inequality PAGEREF _Toc29426881 h 12

HYPERLINK l “_Toc29426882” 2.2.1 Discrimination Against women in Literacy and Education:- PAGEREF _Toc29426882 h 13

HYPERLINK l “_Toc29426883” 2.2.2 Intersectionality and resilience PAGEREF _Toc29426883 h 14

HYPERLINK l “_Toc29426884” 3.0 Methodology PAGEREF _Toc29426884 h 16

HYPERLINK l “_Toc29426885” 3.1 INTRODUCTION PAGEREF _Toc29426885 h 16

HYPERLINK l “_Toc29426886” 4.0 Result findings. PAGEREF _Toc29426886 h 17

HYPERLINK l “_Toc29426887” 4.1 Education desire and identity formation. PAGEREF _Toc29426887 h 17

HYPERLINK l “_Toc29426888” 4.2 Family life PAGEREF _Toc29426888 h 20

HYPERLINK l “_Toc29426889” 4.3 Ethnicity and achievement in education PAGEREF _Toc29426889 h 22

HYPERLINK l “_Toc29426890” 5. CONCLUSION PAGEREF _Toc29426890 h 28

HYPERLINK l “_Toc29426891” Reference List PAGEREF _Toc29426891 h 32


The relationship between educational and social inequalities and opportunities is one of the most fundamental issues in the sociology of education. Uniting its core theoretical concerns, research interests and its broader uses in public debate and policy making. But education is not simple. It is doing different things in different ways for different groups, and is influenced by a diversity of forces. Inevitably, many of these will be contradictory. For instance, the demand that education promote equality of opportunity may conflict (for some) with the need to preserve standards of academic excellence, or the value placed by liberal educators on developing the ‘whole person’ with the demand by others that education meet the needs of the economy. This chapter explores a set of problems associated with educational and social differentiation and the various ways in which they have been accounted for across a range of perspectives. The focus is upon factors associated with the education system itself and with educational processes. There are obvious reasons why sociologists, educators, policy makers and others should see these things as being of primary concern. It is within schools that the work of education gets done. How we organize the school system determines not only the quality of children’s educational lives, but also influences those broader objectives sought through education. Another reason why educational structures and processes are given privacy is that they are open to direct intervention by policy-makers and educationalists. It is harder to affect external relations and factors such as those between education and the labor market or family. However, the conclusion reached in this chapter is that the explanatory scope of school related factors alone is limited, and that they need to be located within a wider social framework if we are to understand more fully how education works within society. But this carries the possibility that educational change in itself might have only limited effect. Issues of differentiation have become increasingly complex as a result of the multiplication of social differences taken into account with the introduction of gender and ethnicity alongside class. This is associated with a proliferation of explanatory approaches–in the contributions of feminism, for instance. Hence, it is necessary to look at what needs explaining and how within a variety of approaches applied to different facets of educational and social differentiation. This complexity has been further complicated by post-modern approaches that reject broad categories such as class and gender in favor of more nuanced and multidimensional models of self, identity and difference

IntroductionThis dissertation paper aims at looking at the continued inequality in the school experiences and the outcomes of the Caribbean students. The paper will deal with the minority ethnic children in the education system which is a major problem. The paper will have a literature review which will focus on the policy discourse, school attainment and the contexts. This will show the way students from the small ethnic groups like the blacks have low outcomes than their peers. The paper will proceed to look at the research methods where I will use secondary data obtained from analysis of interviews done to young people with the experience of school exclusion. The case study was done in London where students were excluded from attending independent schools. After this I intend to look at the result findings where I will discuss the education desire and identity formation. I will also incorporate the parenting and family role in success, as well as the grass root citizenship and community solidarity and their very possibilities. The paper will then have a conclusion that will summarize the entire case study.

1. O: BACKGROUND INFORMATIONEducational inequality refers to the to the lack of equal opportunities that people have as a result of disparities in quality of education or other factors. However, people have the same opportunities from when we start school, hence its up to the individual to decide what they want to do within the educational framework and as a result they argue out that each individual has the chance to do use education to their advantage , on the other hand, it is important to note that not all people have equal opportunities of getting better education by being able to afford private tuition and private schools hence outlining the fact that inequality in education still exist within our educational framework today.

The major function of education is the transmission of society’s norms and values. He maintained that Society can survive only if there exists among its members a sufficient degree of homogeneity; education perpetuates and reinforces this homogeneity by fixing in the child from the beginning the essential similarities which collective life demands (social trends, 1994). A vital task for all societies is the welding of a mass of individuals into a united whole, in other words the creation of social solidarity. This involves a commitment to society, a sense of belonging and a feeling that the social unit is more important than the individual. Durkheim argued that education, and in particular the teaching of history, provides this link between the individual and society. If the history of their society is brought alive to children, they will come to see that they are part of something larger than themselves: they will develop a sense of commitment to the social group.

Education is seen as a means of role allocation, but they link the educational system more directly with the system of social stratification. Social stratification is seen to be a mechanism for ensuring that the most talented to those positions which are functionally most important for society. High rewards which act as incentives are attached to those positions; this means that all will compete for them and the most talented will win through. Education system is very necessary when it comes to this process. In Davis’s words,

“it is the proving ground for ability and hence the selective agency for placing people in different statuses according to their capacities”

Thus the educational system shifts sorts and grades individuals in terms of their talents and abilities. It provides rewards to the very talented students who have high qualifications, which later provide entry to the occupations that are identified as the most important in the society.

According to symbolism interactions theorist explanations of differential achievement that we have examined so far all suggest that pupils’ progress in education is strongly influenced by factors over which individuals have little control. Intelligence as well as home background has been presented as the ones that determine the pupils’ performance within the system of education. Yet the very obvious place one can get the explanation of achievement in the differential educational is only in the educational system. None of the previous approaches is based upon an examination of schooling, but it is widely assumed that schools play an important part in determining educational success and failure. Most of the parents spend quite a lot of money so that their young children can attend schools. They do so in the effort of ensuring that their children have better education.

Before the establishment of comprehensives many parents were also anxious that their children gained a place at grammar schools, assuming that this would prove advantageous for their children. Supporters of the comprehensive system hoped that when all children in state education attended the same type of school, class inequalities in educational achievement would be greatly reduced. This did not happen. Despite comprehensives, class inequalities remain, and this has led to an emphasis on examining the differences in treatment that pupils receive even when they are attending the same school. Interactionists have illuminated the processes within the education system that result in different levels of achievement. It is interactionists, far more than any other type of sociologist, who has researched into the details of day-to-day life in schools.

Psychologists and sociologists have explained performance in the education system in terms of intelligence, cultural and material deprivation and social stratification. All these approaches are, from the interactionist point of view, deterministic; that is, they see human behavior as directed and determined by forces beyond the control of the individual. Individuals are held to react in a predictable way to external stimuli such as the directives of subcultures or the pressures of stratification systems.

1.1 PROBLEM STATEMENTEthnicity, class and gender have always been a source of inequalities especially in education that past sociologist base their theories on. These inequalities have continued to manifest themselves today within our society in various sectors like government structures within different countries and lack of education resources. The educational resources have always contributed to the marginalization of some ethnic groups thereby contributing largely to educational inequality within the society today.


SPECIFIC OBJECTIVESTo identify how class contributes to educational inequality within the society today

To find out how educational inequality is manifested in gender within the society today

To determine the role of ethnicity in educational inequality today

RESEARCH QUESTIONSIn what ways does class contribute to educational inequality?

How does educational inequality manifest itself in gender?

What is the role of ethnicity in educational inequality in the country?

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDYThe study is aimed at providing a basis for making education affordable and accessible to all within the society today irrespective of gender, class or ethnicity.


The information was collected from the secondary data a case example of young students from London and Nottingham. (Wright, 2012). The researcher considered all subjects within that area of study who were between the ages of 14 and 19 who had experienced permanent school exclusion, they were draw from both private and public schools within that given field of study and Additional data are provided from over 60 interviews with contacts nominated by the young people, including community and social workers, mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings and friends.


The enduring inequalities experienced by black students in schools in England have been extensively documented (Wright et al., 2000). The literature shows that black students attain persistently lower outcomes at age 16 than their white peers. Recent reviews of research indicate that black children commenced their schooling with high ability and show themselves to be capable students but, as they get older, their achievements decline (Wright, 1987a;; Rhamie, 2007). Although black students persistently achieve lower outcomes at age 16, in 2007 their outcomes were slightly higher than those of children of Pakistani origin. The variation in educational achievement (particularly for black male students) is also linked to high exclusion (or suspension) rates (Wright et al., 2010). The explanations and responses to the plight of black students within the British education system is said to be;

“Within general educational discourse black children’s schooling experiences and underperformance have been ascribed to; inter alia, deficits, cultural differences and family practices…. Moreover, the discourse in Britain concerning black children as a problem to be managed is also reflected historically and contemporaneously through social policy. For example, social policy initiatives employed to respond to black children in British schools have taken the form of assimilation to the current ‘colour blind’ approaches which have entailed the erasure of ‘race’ from policy…” (Wright, 2010).

Further, Tomlinson (2008) has argued

“Although there have been some positive legislative and policy developments, particularly the use of civil law and human rights legislation to penalize racial discrimination, the education system over the past 50 years has developed within a socio-political context in which there has been a lack of political will to ensure that all groups were fairly and equitably treated”.

In relation to the evident continuing discrimination and racial inequality prevalent in education, and more widely in contemporary British society, attention is drawn to the neoliberal and management directions of policy within the education sphere (Ball, 2008; Tomlinson, 2008).

2.1 Class and educational inequalityRecognizing the multidimensional character of identity and position increases the question: Are some dimensions more fundamental than others? Is class more fundamental than gender or ethnicity? If so, explanation would adopt a reductionist form in which ethnic and gender and status differences would ultimately dissolve into class differences. Feminists adopting a standpoint perspective, however, hold that gender requires a distinct body of theory and concepts qualitatively different from those of the ‘male’ theory of class, and that ‘feminist method’ is different in kind from ‘male’ method .For them, theories and methods are constitutively gendered and, hence, radically discontinuous and incommensurable.

In defense of the priority of class, the difference that sets class inequality apart from both gender and ethnic in-equality. This is that, in the public sphere and in general principle alike, the latter two operate in large measure through the former. Inequalities between men and women, between blacks/browns and whites–for that matter between Catholics and Protestants in a Protestant dominated society–come to major expression as inequalities of class; but not vice versa. As he points out, ‘women experience their social subordination especially though not only by way of poor placement in the structure of class’ and similarly for blacks. To make this point is not to return to class reductionism (class inequalities and modes of discrimination do not exhaust those of gender and race), but to note an important asymmetry in the relation between these inequalities so as to view their relationships as interactive and relational rather that as ‘conceptually parallel dimensions of inequality’ associated with paradigmatic differences in theory and method. Within the American context, there have been a similar observation about the class and race relation, but makes a different point in order to explain the persistence of racial inequalities in education. He constructs a set of careful distinctions to define the specificity of ‘racial stratification’ as separate from class. He argues that although social inequality is universal, social stratification is not. Stratification occurs when groups are defined by certain criteria (e.g. colour, sex), then ranked relative to each other, and individuals are treated according to group membership. He defines stratification in this way: A stratified society is a society in which there is a differential relationship between members of its constituent groups and the society’s fundamental resources, so that some people (e.g. white Americans), by virtue of their membership in particular social groups, have almost unimpaired access to the strategic resources, while some other people (e.g. black Americans), by virtue of their own membership in other social groups, have various impediments in their access to the same strategic or fundamental resources. In addition, the different social groups in the hierarchy are separated by cultural and invidious distinctions that serve to maintain social distance between them. In a stratified society there is usually an overarching ideology, a folk or/and scientific ‘theory’ embodying the dominant group’s rationalizations or explanations of the hierarchical ordering of the groups.

Subordinated groups do not necessarily accept the rationalization of the system; however, they are not entirely free from its influence. Stratification can occur without class (e.g. in pre-industrial societies), and class does not necessarily entail stratification (as distinct from social in-equality). Individuals can change class, but in a racially stratified society cannot change their colour and what that entails. Strata membership is assigned on the basis of ascribed (assumed intrinsic) characteristics, whereas class membership is achieved and marked by external characteristics (such as socio-economic status). Strata contain classes (e.g. middle-class black Americans), but those of the inferior strata are not continuous with the same class in the dominant group. A black American can achieve a high class status, but still suffer the consequences of racial stratification and be segregated from whites.

2.2 How gender manifest itself in educational inequalityIn India over the last half-century has seen the rise in salience of hitherto ignored inequalities in traditional formulations of the social sciences class and poverty cultural handicaps and linguistic disadvantages had in addition to a much less emphatically started rural urban differentiation. For long it has been recognized as the cause as well as effect of educational disadvantage women. Backward castes and untouchable castes and Tribe should always been known to be educationally disadvantaged, but were overlooked in academic discourse, given the prevailing social ethos, the weak social and political position of the groups concerned and possibly non unrelated the state of the art in the social sciences themselves, for comparable opposite reason now the terms of the question have changed and a turn, almost unbalanced in its magnitude and quality: has taken place in the direction of gender, caste and ethnicity as the material and salient factors. In what follows, an examination of the matter is attempted in the light of some relevant facts of pre-and post Independence history

Despite all efforts in 1990 these were 948 million illiterates in the world a figure which has not changed substantially since 1985. If efforts to deal with the problem are not intensified projections for the year 2000 indicate at best only a very slight decrease. Due to rapid population growth, poverty and politico-economic reasons, the number of illiterates is increasing continuously in the world. Normally in developing countries, the proportion of women literates is less that of literate men. Girls receive less health case and food than boys. A study in Bangladesh showed that 14% of girls as against 5% of boys are malnourished. Women typically work more but they are paid less compared to men they also mostly work in format sectors where pay levels to be power.

2.2.1 Discrimination Against women in Literacy and Education:-

Rapid population, Growth, poverty and certain political and economic mechanisms in society all linked to incomplete coverage of primary education for school age children, are at the root of the constant increase in the absolute no. of illiterates in the world. It is a fact that more women than men are illiterate, and there are many reasons for this. In most societies women have lower status than men. From childhood on they have less access to education and sometimes in food and health case as adults not only do they frequently receive less education but worth longer hours have lower incomes and little or no access to ownership of property. Even when the motivation is these, formidable obstacles remain. Foremost among them is probably Lack of time. The traditional or new roles that women fill rarely have them enough free time to devote to full-time or even part-time educational activities, fatigue, frequent or early pregnancies. Caring for child and families agricultural and cultural activities and formal and informal employment are among the many reasons for lack of time. This heavy work hood is reflected in the high rate of absenteeism and drop-out of women from literacy activities. The some reasons apply to girl’s schooling.

Organizational problem male instructions mixed gender classes considerable distance between home and the education centre lack of transport, evening courses and cultural clashes between instructors and participants are also constraints to women’s full participation in educational activities. Women’s education plays an imp role in children especially in relation to infant mortality levels. A study carried out by the research Triangle Institute (1990) in 80 developing countries indicated the an increase of 70 percent in girl’s enrolment in primary school together with a comparable growth in secondary education would after 20 years result in a decrees in the infant mortality rate of 20 per 1,000 live births. Such primary and secondary education for women would contribute to continuation of this decrease over and above other relevant development inputs such as increased per capital income level of urbanization.

2.2.2 Intersectionality and resilienceIntersectionality aims at opposing the feminist work of homogenizing the situations of women. (Yuval-Davis, 2011). It involves integrating the analysis of systems involved in oppression and the intersection of race, gender, and social class in the black women lives. The approach looks at the way gender, class, race and others intersect so as to affect the lives of people and their social behavior. Crenshaw, (1989) talked of the term intersectionality while discussing the employment of black women. There was frequent use of this concept especially in the feminist work in the ay women are placed to be women and as a class of black women among others. The attempt aimed at avoiding reduction of women to a single category every time. This led to treating the so called social positions just like relational. One should note that intersecting the various dimensions of class, gender and race may lead to penalties or even privileges. This depends much on the positioning. Race is said to be gendered while gender is said to be racialised. What is supposed to be white male working class is far much different as compared to the black male working class. The minority groups and the blacks have come across the discrimination patterns without considering gender or social class.

Intersectionality is seen to be a proxy of the stratification theory. Social stratification connects to separate hierarchical locations in groups or even in individuals on the grid of power in the society. Yuval-Davis (2011) outlines essence of the stratification theory when it comes to intersectionality. The debate on the relationship between education and power structure continues. The approach of intersectional stratification may be in a position of coming out with the understanding of this kind of problem. A theoretical framework that deals with the interaction between “habitus” and capital or resource forms is used. The capital notion to the education concept highlights the way inequalities in social class is produced in the after compulsory education and in schooling. For instance, money as well as the capital economic forms are important in reproduction of inequalities of education. This is because they can be used in purchasing certain forms of mobility and advantage. They could also be deployed in protecting costs, fixity as well as risks (Archer et al, 2007) The social capital shows the forms of the connection and social participation like the groups, facilities, communities and networks. Culture capital on the other hand is the increase in culture knowledge. Ability and skills that an individual possess or are inherited by a group of people who are privileged, the credentials that the elite groups and employer uses as a method of arbitrarily and unfairly screening out people and subordinate groups from certain social groups and privileged jobs. While using the analysis attention of Bourdieu, it has been brought to show the way middle class defend and generate the so called privileged positions. This is as a result of their deployment of symbolically legitimated, social and cultural economic forms. These are used to negotiate successfully with the educational markets. Capital in education is formulated in regard to the white communities. Therefore one is required to be very keen while extending the notion to these back communities.

The issue for instance on the low attainment of the black people in school is odd when put together with post compulsory experience in school. In this view, it is evident that black students who have GCSE results below or within the median have high likely hood of attending the higher education as compared to white students with the same results. Material factors are very much significant as compared to cultural factors when it comes to the education failure in the working class. Even if the factor has some truth for the black families, the quest they have of a good life which is to be achieved through acquiring good education is paramount without looking at the class. When discussing the experience of the established Caribbean community living in Britain one needs to note that the debate takes place with the regard of the way black community tries to respond and engage the race inequalities especially to education (Goulbourne, 2002).

3.0 Methodology3.1 INTRODUCTIONThis chapter highlights the way the secondary research was done. The research involved use of books, journals and articles which have information about ethic inequality and education systems. An example of the research was one that was done by Wright, (2010). The research was done to young students were obtained from London and Nottingham. The method of reflexive thinking provides the black feminist people doing the research with intersection understanding of class, race, gender as well as age in the process of research (Reynolds, 2005) and social aspects of high education and advice on the matters concerning the best careers to take.


The research will make use of secondary data where I will combine both qualitative and quantitative research methods. I intend to use the books, articles and journals which are available and have the information concerning the education inequality and achievements as a result of gender inequality, ethnicity and class.


The recommendations from this study will be used as a basis for implementation and change in structure of the educational framework today so as to curb out educational inequality within the society today.


Since this research is purely an academic process, a letter of acknowledgment to carry out the research is to be granted from the various institutions involved.

4.0 Result findings.This paper aims on the ways the ethnic groups such as the blacks work hard in transforming the school experience. It tries to build on the ‘grass root’ notion, civic citizenship, identifying the way agency, challenge and resistance as well as individual responses are connected to opportunities and resources that are available through the so called institutional relationships like the family, community organizations and kin. The analysis has provided a new insight of the students’ aspirations in education, circumstances in life which is involved in informing the attainment of schooling or the educational experiences.

4.1 Education desire and identity formation.The main issue that came up in the study was the way the ethnic community being given the name failures converted it into the need to have a positive outcome in education. In a study of the black adolescent boys in US, Harding (2010) discussed the notion of “redemption and recovery” like denoting an individual of very humble background able to achieve success. This is as a result of ingenuity and hard work. This idea has really spread in America. It is a come back from personal failure or setbacks. The main ideas in the “turn around” idea are identifying errors that have been made previously such as street crime and addiction, getting rid of places and people who lead to the problems, be fully involved in churches, school and community programs, be independent economically by having a family and work and also identifying the importance of having the education qualifications that help in changing lives. The turn around narrative is therefore an idea of impacting change in the life of an individual and having the urge to change. The study therefore looked at the way the youths were engaged in utilizing the narrative.

The narratives of the ethnic people such as the blacks are filled with the notions of individual agency, culture, community responsibility and subjectivity. The narratives they hold suggest the reason as to why even after low achievement at sixteen years, the young people participate in higher education disproportionally. The motivating factor of social progression in the attainment of education is evident because of the idea that even as the minority ethnic communities are responsible for 8% of the youths aged between 18 to 24 years living in Britain, they double this when joining the university.

The graph below shows the GCSE results of five and above A* to C grades (School portal, 2013).

National Equality Panel noted that people from the ethnic groups having GCSE results are very likely to proceed to higher education as compared to white British students possessing same results. According to Mirza (2006), University stude

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