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SOCB26H3 (75)
Lecture 3

Week 3 Lecture

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOCB26H3
Professor
Julian Tanner
Semester
Winter

Description
Selection In the past, status was inherited. th th • Those who is in 18 or 19 century who owned land or factories, those poeple were able to pass on their wealth and their advantages to their children • Today, most of us earn our living by employment • Equally, most forms of employment available to most of us require the acquisition of educational qualifications and credentials However, you can't inherit educational qualifications. • The fact that a parent has a medical certification as doctor/lawyer/university professor, you can’t pass those qualifications directly onto your kids How do parents pass on their advantages to their children? • Answer: largely through educational system, and by various selection process which are available to educational systems Educational selection takes two forms: 1. The educational system is itself stratified • Different types of schools that prepare you for university or ones that prepare people for the labour market • Collegiate institutes vs. regular schools 2. Streaming • Occurs within schools • Divide student body into those who take curriculum that will prepare them for university, and other students who are given a program which will prepare them for labour market How is streaming justified? • Dividing students into different groups for teaching purposes (one for university purposes, and one for general training) • Students in higher streams who are in academic streams are exposed to advanced mathematics/literature • Those in lower streams connected with labour market focus on more basic/fundamental reading and numeracy • It’s easier to teach kids who have similar abilities and aspirations • For students, the argument is: as a student, it is easier to learn in a class where all of your classmates are roughly at the same ability as yourself • Indeed, it might be damaging to students if they are placed in class with high ability students in it, because being exposed to higher talented people will damage their self-esteem • Streaming matches students’ capabilities and career objectives with an appropriate learning environment • In addition, advocates for streaming also argue that schools that stream have a lower dropout rate than schools that are not streamed • Similarly, a streamed school produces higher overall achievement and better test scores than everybody and schools that are not streamed • Streaming is highly controversial What do its critics say? • Most of streaming critics would align themselves with conflict perspective on education -Reinforces existing differences in ability • Putting kids in different streams (academic, non academic), over time it reinforces existing differences in ability • One of the consequences of streaming students is terms of marks and grades and achievements, that the good students get better and the weaker students get poorer -suppresses ambition. • Those students who are placed in non-academic streams end up lowering their educational and occupational ambitions • If you placed a student in non-academic stream, they no longer anticipate a university education or post-secondary education • Streaming has the effect of narrowing/lowering their ambitions • Instead of aiming high, they aim low -Is often linked to class background • Concern about streaming is often class linked • What this means is that children/students from higher status backgrounds are disproportionally to find their way into academic streams and programs, whereas students from lower/modest families find themselves in non-academic streams and programs • Students from low status backgrounds are twice as likely than students from high status to vocational education in high school • The same argument is made for race – there are Black parents that ask why is it that Black students are overrepresented in non-academic streams in high school? How is tracked allocation determined? • Academic attainment is an important determinant of whether or not students get into academic streams/programs • It is the case that the students who get the best grades, they are the ones who are most likely to get selected into academic streams • Parents and their children from high status backgrounds often have higher aspirations, therefore have the effect of getting themselves into academic streams • Another factor affecting how students get into streams is labelling • Students encouraged to go into one stream or another (teacher telling a kid “you’re better working with your hands than with your head, you’re better going off to non-academic stream”) • Teachers and counsellors make assumptions about the future prospects of particular students • Another possibility: students from modest backgrounds and their parents might end up labelling themselves that they might tell themselves that they don’t have what it takes to get into university, and thus they end up putting themselves in a program which is not directed toward university • Similarly, students who come from poor families and their parents might believe that they are unable to afford a university education • Evidence in Canada that students from modest backgrounds are more likely to favour community college as post-secondary institution than university programs because they are shorter and don’t cost as much What are the educational effects of streaming? Streaming has independent effects on school attainment: allocation to high status stream improves performance, allocation the low status streams lowers school performance: • D&G (p. 67) study of writing skills in high school • Possible predictors of the level of writing skills that kids have are firstly the schools that kids attend, secondly individual differences between students, and thirdly the stream that students are in • Individual differences between students = family backgrounds, race/ethnicity, gender, mental ability/cognitive skills • What they find: if you want to know what predicts the level of writing skills in high school, then the best predictor is individual differences between stud
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