Posts Tagged ‘differential educational achievement’

Sociological Detectives: Theory Summary Sheet

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

Iftheory_summary you’re using the Sociological Detectives sim you might find this simple Theory Summary sheet useful because it provides a couple of helpful things:

  1. A basic structure for students to follow when examining different theories of differential educational achievement. It allows them to record information in a simple, consistent, way.
  2. If you’re sharing information around the class electronically (using the Padlet / Google Drive options I suggested, for example) the summary sheet represents a standardised format that will be consistent across all students.


Sociology Stuff: DEA

Friday, October 28th, 2016

Istufff you’re sitting comfortably, I’ll tell you a story.

A long, long, time ago, when the Internet was still young, there existed a web site, created by Mark Peace, called Sociology Stuff. This web site specialised in producing high quality sociology stuff (hence the name. Probably. I’m guessing) for a few years before Mark got bored or went off to do a PhD or something and the site just disappeared, along with all the stuff it contained. Which was a shame.

Luckily, someone who shall be nameless (but we’ll call “Chris” because that’s actually his name) saved a lot of this stuff onto one of his many hard drives and forgot about it. Either because he was Very, Very, Busy (the official version). Or because he was just a little bit jealous and wanted to keep all the Stuff for himself (the version I’m leaning toward).


Mapping Differential Educational Achievement

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

Differences in UK educational achievement are normally categorised across three main dimensions – class, gender and ethnicity – of which the former is generally seen by sociologists of education as the primary determinant of achievement differences (as measured by exam grades), while gender and in some instances ethnicity is generally preferred by politicians and media commentators – Our schools are failing boys, which is bad news for Britain – for reasons that shouldn’t be too difficult to understand (although that, perhaps, is a story for another time).

Ken Browne (Sociology for AQA, Vol. 1: AS and 1st-Year A Level), for example, captures this often-complex hierarchy by structuring achievement in terms of class (the primary determinant), with gender and ethnicity as secondary determinants. As can be seen from this graphic the argument here is that differences in educational achievement are primarily class-based (upper class children achieve more than working class children) with gender / ethnic gradations within each class.

This graphic is helpful because it provides a simple visual representation that allows students to understand not just within-class differences, (between for example boys and girls) but also cross-class differences; upper class boys, for example, generally achieve more than working class girls. By understanding this students should be able to construct more-nuanced answers to questions about differential achievement.

Taking It Further? (more…)

A Modest Proposal for Structured Sociology Teaching: Part 3

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

The previous post identified and briefly outlined the 5 categories that make-up the Structured Teaching scheme and in this post we can look at each category in a little more detail by way of a “worked example” based around Differential Educational Achievement.

We can start with a visual example of what a mind-mapped structure might look-like, keeping in mind it’s just a simple representation of part of an overall structure for what is quite a large Module (it covers Outside School factors and Social Class).

If you’d like a more-interactive version of this graphic you can download a pdf version that includes some sample Notes to schema3accompany each of the Items I’ve included in the example.

  1. Problematise: The questions we could ask here are many and varied; this is a particularly wide issue that can, if it’s more convenient, be broken down into a number of different, specific, questions. However, for illustrative purposes we could specify something like “How is class, gender and ethnicity related to differential educational achievement?” as a very general way of framing the problem.
  2. Contextualise: The general purpose of this category is to generate links between how the problem is framed and how it can be explained and as with different possible questions there are a range of ideas that could be examined as part of the contextualising process. These include:
  • how achievement is defined: this is significant because different definitions impact on how we understand and explain achievement differences.
  • how achievement is measured: this conventionally involves looking at exam grades, such as GCSE and A-level in the UK, but this is not the only measure of achievement. Different measures, therefore, will similarly impact on our understanding and explanation of different achievement.
  • statistical evidence based on categories like class, gender and ethnicity. This may, for example, involve using a range of Key Stage data (including GCSE and A-level) to highlight achievement differences that can then be examined trough different theories / explanations.


Education and Class

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

A research snippet from the Sutton Trust (2014) that suggests inequalities in extra-curricular tuition and activities can have an impact on differential educational achievement.