GoogleTranslate Service

Educational achievement is tied to social class

August 25th, 2011 by Graham Attwell

The latest Labour Force Survey statistics show 11.3% of British adults do not have any qualifications. In England, the figure is 11.1%, in Wales it is 13.3% and in Scotland 12.3%. but these overall figures hide wide variations. According to UCU, the college lecturers’ union, people living in Newcastle upon Tyne Central are twice as likely to be unqualified as their neighbours in Newcastle upon Tyne North.

Of the 20 constituencies with the highest percentage of people with no qualifications, the West Midlands accounts for eight, and has four in the top 10. There is a clear east-west divide in London, the union found: of the 20 worst-performing constituencies in the capital, three-quarters are in the east.

You do not have to be a statistical or sociological genius to understand what these figures mean. The areas with the highest levels of qualification are the richest areas, the areas with lowest are the poorer areas with higher levels of unemployment and social exclusion. In other words levels of achievement are closely bound to social class.

And it also is not difficult to predict that the present UK government policies,  increasing student fees at many univeristies to £9000 a year, abolishing student maintenance grants and reducing funding for vocational education will only excaerbate these divides.

Despite their claims that they wish to promote equal educational opportunity it is hard not to think they really don’t care.

One Response to “Educational achievement is tied to social class”

  1. jen hughes says:

    “No shit, Sherlock!” – as some of the younger members of my family would say.

    Jordanhill College in Scotland did a load of research on this back in the 80’s as far as I remember. It was the era when ‘barriers to access’ was the thing we were all supposed to be addressing and overcoming. We had socially excluded groups, marginalised groups, disadvantaged groups, disenfranchised groups – courses for single parents, for women returners, for black and minority ethnic groups, for those threatened with redundancy, people with disabilities and learning difficulties, the long term unemployed etc etc etc.

    It was only Jordanhill who spelled it out. The biggest barrier to accessing higher education is social class. I think they showed that if you took into account gender, age, parental status, ethnicity and all the other factors above and added them together, their collective impact is still hugely overshadowed by the impact of class. I cannot remember the exact figures but it was something like if you were a member of socio-economic classes A and B, you were 11 times more likely to go to university than if you were class C1, C2, D or E.

    This always seemed to me to make a mockery of the huge amounts of funding which went into various initiatives to create a socially inclusive education system when it represented a drop in the ocean compared with the effect of social stratification.

    The Jordanhill report was not popular, to say the least. It managed to upset groups of every persuasion along the political perspective. The government hated it (predictably!) and the academics felt wounded that their worthy efforts were being somehow discounted. Political correctness was all – but class was the barrier that no one ever dared mention.

    Plus ca change! Class is still the elephant in the educational kitchen.

  • Search

    News Bites

    Open Educational Resources

    BYU researcher John Hilton has published a new study on OER, student efficacy, and user perceptions – a synthesis of research published between 2015 and 2018. Looking at sixteen efficacy and twenty perception studies involving over 120,000 students or faculty, the study’s results suggest that students achieve the same or better learning outcomes when using OER while saving a significant amount of money, and that the majority of faculty and students who’ve used OER had a positive experience and would do so again.

    Digital Literacy

    A National Survey fin Wales in 2017-18 showed that 15% of adults (aged 16 and over) in Wales do not regularly use the internet. However, this figure is much higher (26%) amongst people with a limiting long-standing illness, disability or infirmity.

    A new Welsh Government programme has been launched which will work with organisations across Wales, in order to help people increase their confidence using digital technology, with the aim of helping them improve and manage their health and well-being.

    Digital Communities Wales: Digital Confidence, Health and Well-being, follows on from the initial Digital Communities Wales (DCW) programme which enabled 62,500 people to reap the benefits of going online in the last two years.

    See here for more information

    Zero Hours Contracts

    Figures from the UK Higher Education Statistics Agency show that in total almost 11,500 people – both academics and support staff – working in universities on a standard basis were on a zero-hours contract in 2017-18, out of a total staff head count of about 430,000, reports the Times Higher Education.  Zero-hours contract means the employer is not obliged to provide any minimum working hours

    Separate figures that only look at the number of people who are employed on “atypical” academic contracts (such as people working on projects) show that 23 per cent of them, or just over 16,000, had a zero-hours contract.

    Resistance decreases over time

    Interesting research on student centered learning and student buy in, as picked up by an article in Inside Higher Ed. A new study published in PLOS ONE, called “Knowing Is Half the Battle: Assessments of Both Student Perception and Performance Are Necessary to Successfully Evaluate Curricular Transformation finds that student resistance to curriculum innovation decreases over time as it becomes the institutional norm, and that students increasingly link active learning to their learning gains over time

    Other Pontydysgu Spaces

    • Pontydysgu on the Web

      Our Wikispace for teaching and learning
      Sounds of the Bazaar Radio LIVE
      Join our Sounds of the Bazaar Facebook goup. Just click on the logo above.

      We will be at Online Educa Berlin 2015. See the info above. The stream URL to play in your application is Stream URL or go to our new stream webpage here SoB Stream Page.

  • Twitter

  • RT @katyoj The BSA Digital Sociology study group are building a network / forum for people involved in delivering higher ed digital sociology courses - for collaborations & sharing expertise, resources etc. Please contribute if you can and share with your networks:…

    About 6 hours ago from Cristina Costa's Twitter via Twitter for Android

  • Sounds of the Bazaar AudioBoo

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Meta

  • Upcoming Events

      There are no events.
  • Categories