Socb26 lec 03 1/24/2012 9:03:00 AM
In the past, selection was inherited but educational qualifications
Social status likely to be determined by education
Takes place within educational system(Schools) and between
o Educational selection takes 2 forms:
1.) The edu. System is itself stratified-(pass exam go to
uni, fail, go somewhere else, collegiate and vocational
2.) Streaming- selection process takes place within the
schools themselves; the practice of sorting students in
different ability groups.-upper stream(uni), and lower
Schools geared towards sending minority to
Now students stream themselves through their
choice in courses (advanced or enriched or
The “optional”(had no effect) and required
courses lead students to stream one way or the
other into post secondary education and particular
Argument for streaming: allows students to
prepare and also makes use of students’ talents
and abilities, cultivates their skills
Critics: streaming is controversial, say regardless
of different levels of ability, streaming has effect
of widening differences
Also, placing kids in non-academic programs
suppresses their ambition.
Real problem is who gets in what stream- higher
proportion of students in higher background go to
university vs. lower background.
Study on streaming grade 10 students:
Two groups identified: 1. Those whose gr.10 course selection was
likely to restrict their post secondary
education (pse) options- ruling out uni. In
2. Those whose gr.10 course selections kept
their PSE options open –especially uni.
Streaming occurs most often in math and least in
Girls have slight greater PSE options than boys
Students from university educated families
significantly more likely to have open PSE options lec04 1/24/2012 9:03:00 AM
What are the educational effects of streaming?
Streaming has an effect, independent of social background and
cognitive ability, on school attainment.
Gamoron: over time, students allocated to high status streams
improve performance, and those in low status streams, lower
Why does streaming have the effects that it appears to have?
Those in academic stream surrounded by dynamic peers,
curriculum, and teachers.
Research shows that students in low status streams are harmed
more by the streaming process than students in the high status
streams benefit from.
The changing nature of selection in educational systems
Historically , Canada’s educational system has been more flexible
and open in its selective function than European educational
Distinction between sponsored and contest mobility in
Over the past several decades, European educational systems that
have become more like Canadian and American systems (for
example: more secondary school graduates going on to university)
Increasingly the selective function of education is occurring at the
post secondary level, rather than in high school
Higher education is stratified according to:
o Selectivity of the institution universities can be ranked
according to prestige ,and those with the strongest
reputations and prestige are in the best position to select the
best students who upon graduation will assume the top
positions in society.
o Field of study (that is, the programs of study that students
enter.) 1/24/2012 9:03:00 AM
Research paper: use any citation method except MLA. Include page
Comparison between us and U.S
Prestige hierarchy (pecking order)- are in both, but in U.S- various
different public/private universities, ivy leagues, liberal arts
colleges, etc. very large, very hierarchal university system.
Canada compared to this- very few large universities, the smaller
ones irrelevant because no one has heard of them. The U.S
university system is very much public. In Canada, resources are
distributed equally among the different schools (u of t may get
more because of vast number of students but won’t get more just
because of prestige) , in U.S- very elitist
In Canada, they mostly recruit locally(get jobs locally). U.S elite
universities locate nationally and Internationally. – get jobs more
Might teacher expectations influence student attainment?
Pygmalion in the Classroom: a study of elementary students and
their teachers by Rosenthal and Jacobson
Title comes from play from Niagara on the lake about a relationship
between professor of English and a lowly born girl- eliza dolittle,
wanting to turn her into a duchess or highborn lady by improving
speech and having her assume the mannerisms, and achievements
and styles of a highborn lady. Turned into a play-my fair lady.
A teacher’s expectations of a student affects students’
performances. If they expect a lot from students- a lot will be
produced but if you expect little then, little will be produced.
Study suggests that falsely labeling students as having high IQs ,
changes teachers’ expectations of their abilities, improving their
test scores over the course of the academic year.
Very influential but controversial not only because of ethics involved
but also because other researchers had difficulty replicating these
Roy Rist: Social Class and Teacher expectations SES characteristics of kids determine their placements in ability
groups in kindergarten class.
Kids in different groups treated differently by the teacher
Over the course of the school year performance gap between the
three groups widened. (less ability kids grouped in back of class
room, average in the middle, best closest to the teacher)
Once assigned to ability groups, little mobility between them. This
extends into grade 1 and 2
Noticed that kids closest to the teacher wore cleaner clothes,
behaved better and were lighter skinned.- shade of skin affected
teacher’s perception of kids. Those in the back were most scruffy
and unclean, demonstrated poor oral skills, and were more likely to
come from single parent families or families relying on welfare. Kids
in the front actually received more instruction
In relation to streaming, Rist found that once they were assigned to
groups there was little to no mobility through the entire
kindergarten year. lec07 1/24/2012 9:03:00 AM
Educational Inequality Among Students
Has equality of opportunity been achieved in schools?
Does social background (class, gender, and race/ethnicity) matter
for educational success?
Considerable and consistent evidence that educational attainment is
linked to parental SES (social class)
As a result of the expansion of educational system what we find, is
that regardless of social background, many more students are
leaving schools with qualifications and high educational attainment
than before.- more students are finishing high school, more going
to university and less dropping out.
Despite the expansion of the school system, there is still a link
between SES and educational attainment.
if your dad is high school graduate, your chances of completing
Functionalists argue that over time, prospects for opportunity will
be increasing, in other words, if we track people over time, we
would find that the influence of father’s education on your own
prospects of getting university degree would diminish.
How might persistent class effects on educational attainment be
- IQ/Measured ability?See article: examined life
o (but students from high status backgrounds do better in
school even when IQ and measured ability are taken into
o (but students from high status background do better in school
regardless of the costs of education)
o interest free, osap, etc, even though these educational stings
o Annette Larieu “the hidden advantages of class”- middle class
parents more comfortable with school than working class
ones. o Working class students do less well in school because they
are opposed to education
Why the Concern about Drop-outs?
1.) Personal Costs (unemployment, low wage jobs)
Fractured transitions from school to work: revisiting the dropout problem-
168 high school dropouts in Edmonton interviewed
Key questions: why did kids drop out of school?
What happens to them afterwards? (employment, unemployment
and crime) lec08 1/24/2012 9:03:00 AM
How oppositional are high school dropouts?
While school factors are important determinants of dropping out,
most dropouts have mixed feelings about quitting school.
Most intend returning to school
Few abandoned their occupational (and educational) aspirations-
few anticipated, expected, or wanted, low status jobs.
Most quit school because they oppose the educational system
Aboriginal highest dropout rate and least to go to university.
Research in 1980s surprisingly suggest that they were less
oppositional to education system than expected.
Reasons for dropout: conflicts between or with one or both parents,
divorce, problems at home, pregnancy, mostly reasons dropping
out are because of school-i.e. learning difficulties, lousy grades,
particular dislike for teachers or school subject- rejection of
schooling because of lack of connection they see in learning a
subject and the real world.
Some students didn’t regard themselves as dropouts and wasn’t by
choice but instead were forced/pushed out of school through
lectures by teachers and counselors.
Contrary to the belief that dropping out is completely voluntary on
students’ behalf, it can be said that there are elements of
compulsion in the decision.
Found themselves being discriminated in work force- with low
When surveyed if want to go back to school 38% (most) stated yes
but not high school- implies that they didn’t like being treated by
teachers as children.
Gender and Educational Attainment
Female educational attainment now significantly exceeds male
o Women entering occupations for the first time they never
previously entered. Traditionally female occupations now
must have higher qualifications. Thirdly- women not only catching up but exceeding male attainment. Men are more
likely to go into occupations not requiring degree than
o People with the largest amount of income are the people
requiring the most educational qualifications.
o One of the reasons why women continuously earn less than
men despite the qualifications women get relates to the
subject they study in university.
o Despite women’s educational attainment exceeds male
attainment, there is still a disadvantage for women
Race and Ethnicity and Educational Attainment
Significant variations in educational attainment between racial and
Overall visible minority students perform better than white students
(30% with university degrees, compared with 24%)
However, within the visible minority group, there are significant
variations in attainment.
Asian students: high attainment (40% with university degrees) why
they do better? Partly because of changing immigration policies –
instead of recruiting Europeans.
Black and Hispanic students: medium educational attainment
Aboriginal youth the least- 6.2%
Socioeconomic background of immigrants