Using material from item A and elsewhere assess the view that social class differences in educational achievement are the result of school processes such as labelling.
Some sociologists would explain the social class differences in educational achievement as being caused by internal factors. These are factors within schools and the education system that could cause these differences. One internal factor is labelling. To label someone is to attach a meaning or definition to ...view middle of the document...
Howard Becker carried out an important study on labelling and found that teachers judged pupils according to how closely they fitted an image of the ‘ideal pupil’. We can see how the process of labelling can affect pupils by looking at Aaron Cicourel and Johm Kitsuse’s study of educational councillors. The study found that the counsellor judged pupils largely on their social class; this therefore put them at a disadvantage as middle-class students were placed on higher level courses.
The self-fulfilling prophecy is another internal factor that can be linked to social class differences in achievement. A self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that comes true simply by virtue of it being made. Some sociologists argue that labelling can effect pupil’s achievement by creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. This can be seen in a study of a primary school by Rosenthal and Jacobson. The pair told teachers that had carried out a test in which they had identified those pupils who would ‘spurt’ ahead, when in fact they had chosen pupils at random. On returning to the school a year later they found that almost half of those identified as ‘spurters’ had indeed made significant progress.