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Lecture Notes After the Midterm.

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Julian Tanner

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Some Differences Between US and Canadian Universities  US o A mix of private and public institutions  “Ivy League” are all private  State universities are all public  Have lots of undergrad and graduate programs  Not very many liberal arts universities  A bunch of small, unknown colleges and universities o A clear cut ranking system  People, parents, and students know what the top universities are. o Unequal resources  Ivy League  Well funded from rich people donating stuff (money or buildings), faculty who can find lots of research funding, etc.  State Universities  Decently funded  The rest  Don’t get very much money, and the faculty don’t really get research grants o Students recruited and distributed nationally  Ivy League  Draw in students from all over the US and even internationally  Companies everywhere REALLY want students from these universities  Canada o No private universities  None of any significance. Might be a few religious based universities, but they are very small. o Resources distributed more equally  No hierarchy of money.  Funding is based on the number of students. o Students recruited and distributed more locally  Students tend to go to universities near where they live.  Employers tend to go for students from universities in the area o Universities are not ranked in the same way  There is a ranking (and stratification), but it is less obvious and more easily disputed.  “UofT (or McGill) is the first among equals” Is this changing? MacClean’s Magazine Ranking  If we do change, we will look more like the US.  MacClean’s has their own scale for ranking universities, which has become a pretty big deal.  Put out a new edition every year.  Distinguish between undergraduate, comprehensive (both undergraduate and graduate), and medical/doctoral o Library size o Undergraduate marks o Research funding  2008, UofT wasn’t first. McGill was. UofT tied for second with Queens.  Can be pretty controversial. o The criteria  Example: Library book count shouldn’t make a university better. o “Un-Canadian to be ranking universities” Is the international reputation of Canadian universities slipping?  Recently, international rankings have said that Canadian universities are slipping from the top spots. o The top six have slipped down in the rankings.  Asian countries have started funding their universities more than before  Might depend on enrolment, so if countries are expanding their education system then more people will be able to enrol  Might this slippage be reversed by creating distinctions between research and teaching universities? o Unrealistic for all universities to be all things to all students. Cant expect universities to excel at teaching and research. o Become like the Americans and have the universities become more specialized. o Right now, all universities are expected to do research, and teach students at the undergraduate and graduate level. o Not a big difference in the different programs that different universities offer. o In the US, they have universities (or colleges) that have specialized programs.  Examples:  Undergraduate college near Boston focused on entrepreneurship.  If Canada did this, maybe the top universities would reclaim their place in the international rankings o The creation of a major division between a few universities to do more research than others. Leaving the majority of universities to focus on undergraduate education.  Faculty will probably not like this because people who become university professors were occupationally socialized throughout their education. They were taught there is more prestige in doing research than teaching (especially undergraduate), which is the dirty little secret of universities.  Basically the majority of faculty will not want to give up their research roles to focus on undergraduate teaching. o Another problem is that Canada would have to create a two-tier system (private and public).  Few number of top tier schools.  Elitist  Has the top, smartest students  Who come from high status backgrounds  Mediocre schools for the bottom tier  Has “average” students from “average” backgrounds o For the most part, Canadian universities just base admissions off high school grades.  UBC has started all applicants to submit a personal essay, and list their extra curricular activities.  Laurentian has started specializing. They have 14 undergraduate programs, 5 graduate programs, and 9 research programs.  Mining (good since Sudbury was based on mining)  Health Services Might Teacher Expectations Influence Student Attainment?  Pygmalion in the Classroom o A study of elementary students and their teachers. o Done by Rosenthal and Jacobson o Students were given an IQ test. In some schools, the IQ score was accurately told to the teacher. For the purposes of research, a random sample of 20% of all kids in each grade were selected, and misidentified to teachers as being extremely talented. o The teachers would make the assumption that their IQ score actually meant something, and treat the higher level students differently than those with lower levels. o Findings suggest that falsely labelling some students as having high IQs changes teacher’s expectations of their ability, improving their test scores over the course of the academic year o At the end of the year, the students were given an IQ test. Those who were identified as really smart scored higher than the rest.  More than twice as high o Very influential study, but only partially replicated  Teachers in later studies not persuaded that some other students were unusually talented?  Time between initial and follow up tests not long enough in replicated studies?  Some didn’t wait until the end of the year, they did it at Christmas time.  Not enough time for the self-fulfilling prophecy idea to take place. o By grades 2 or 3, academic self-concept has been forged, and not easily changed by teacher expectations?  The greatest change in IQ scores was mostly in younger kids (specifically grades 1 and 2)  Even in the original research this happened  Students by grade 3 pretty much know if they are a good student or not. A teacher treating them differently probably wont really change this. o Greater teacher expectations cannot compensate for poor cognitive skills of students  Even if teachers have really high expectations, their students may not be capable of fulfilling those expectations.  If someone is naturally really stupid, a teacher is not going to fix that. o Self-Fulfilling Prophecy  If teachers expect a lot, then the students will do a lot  If teachers expect nothing, then the students will do nothing Ray Rist: Social Class and Teacher Expectations  SES characteristics of kids determine their placements in ability groups in kindergarten class o All black school o The teacher was using markers of social class to judge the student’s capabilities for academic work  Kids in different groups treated differently by the teacher o Divided the students up into 3 groups:  Very Promising  Sat in the front of the room  Came to school every morning wearing clean clothes. Had neat hair.  Most respectful of the teacher.  Those with the lighter skin colours  More likely to be praised by the teacher  More likely to get instructions form the teacher  “Fast learners”  Not overly promising  Sat at the back of the classroom  Came to school in the morning without clean clothing, weren’t groomed, smelled funny, etc.  Those with the darker skin colours  Came from single parent families, on welfare, etc.  More likely to be criticized by the teacher  More likely to get little instructions from the teacher  “Slow learners”  Average/Mediocre  Sat in the middle of the room  Over the course of the school year performance gap between the three groups widened o Kids in the front got smarter o Kids in the back got dumber  Once assigned to ability groups, little mobility between them happened. This extends into grades 1, and 2 o Basically once a student was assigned to a specific group, it was very unlikely for them to move to a different spot.  Example: Kids from the back don’t move to the front later, and kids from the front don’t move to the back later. Educational Inequality Among Students  Over the last 50-60 years, educational attainments have increased for basically everyone o Less people went to university, or college o Less people finished high school, more drop outs o But even today, educational attainment is still strongly linked to social backgrounds.  Happens in all countries, it would be very difficult to find a society that goes against this trend.  Sociologists of education are still trying to figure out why this relationship occurs o Study by STATSCAN, the probability of having a university degree in 2003 based on the educational level of their father  23% of women over 30 years of age were likely to have a university degree if their father didn’t have one  47% of women 30-39 years of age were likely to have a university degree if their father did  Basically if one’s father does not have a university degree, they are unlikely to have one. This is true for both males and females.  From this study it would appear that there is little change in the importance of parental education  Functionalists would say that they agree that back in the day schools sucked at equality of opportunity. BUT today there is a weakening influence of parental education on their children’s educational attainment.  Has equality of opportunity been achieved in schools? o Conflict Theorists think that schools struggle to provide an equality of opportunity  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)  Original questions about equality of opportunity focused on the social class of students. How might persistent class effects on educational attainment be explained?  IQ/measured ability o See article “Examined Life” by Malcolm Gladwell on intranet o Students from high status backgrounds do better in school even when IQ and measured ability are taken into account. o Not based on ability factors of learning  Doing well in school requires more than the ability to learn  IQ and measured ability is only one part in trying to determine who will go onto university o Even amongst the most gifted students, their social background still affected their educational attainment. Only 25% went on to university o Among men with identical IQs, those who came from a high background had 4.9 more years on average of schooling than those who came from more modest backgrounds  Financial Hardships? o For students from modest or low economic backgrounds, the lack of money can be a barrier to post secondary education o The price of post secondary education doesn’t overly matter in terms of the chances of different backgrounds going  Cultural Explanations o Annette Larieu – “The Hidden Advantages of Class”  Middle-class parents more comfortable with school than working-class ones  Working-class parents wanted their children to do well in school though. They just didn’t feel comfortable because of their own experiences with the education system  Middle-class students do better in school that working-class ones. Working-class students do less well in school because they (and their parents) are opposed to education (Paul Willis – Cultural Resistance to Schooling)  Boys and their parents would make a conscious decision to not make much of an effort in school. Maybe even to quit school as soon as possible, and get a job.  Working-class parents would refer to the teachers as experts, and would rely on them for advice on schooling for their children.  Middle-class parents saw themselves as equals to the teachers, so they are more likely to intervene as an activist for their child. They aren’t shy when requesting a specific teacher. More likely to take time off to meet with teachers.  Basically how parents feel about school will play a role in how their children will do in school. Inequality Among Students: Gender  It used to be the case that girls were less likely to attend university than boys, but not any more o Today woman are more likely to go to university than men  2003/4 : Women represented 57.7% o Woman have a presence in each field  In some fields they are not the dominant  Example: Engineering, architecture, math, and computer science  How might we explain this turnaround? o Role of Feminism  Guarantees some kind of equality of opportunity for females  Has broadened social horizons for women.  Encouraged them to be more ambitious about occupational goals.  Higher educational expectations. o Job market has transformed.  Women are entering more professional/managerial positions that they were previously barred from.  Examples: Law, and Medicine  Historically, women were found in teaching, nursing, and social work.  Didn’t need a degree in the past.  Now these positions need a university degree o Men are more likely to enter “blue collar” jobs that do not require postsecondary qualifications  Despite the fact that women are better educated, men continue to earn more money on average. o Why?  Usually has to do the type of fields that women choose while in university.  Example: BA in English, BA in Sociology, or BEd are unlikely to match the earnings of someone who has a BSc in Engineering  Women are the only ones who can get pregnant.  Businesses account for potential maternity leaves  Women are the primary caregiver, more likely to take time off to take care of sick children. Race and Ethnicity, and Educational Attainment  Significant variations in educational attainment between racial and ethnic groups: o Overall, visible minority students perform better than white students  78% of white kids went to post secondary  62% went to university  87% of visible minorities went to post secondary  52% went to university o Within the visible minority group, there are significant variations in attainment:  Asian students: high attainment  40% with university degrees  Black and Hispanic students: medium educational attainment  18% with university degrees  Aboriginal students: low attainment  6% with university degrees  How might these differences be explained? o Immigration policy  Has targeted people who have higher levels of education  Before the late 1960s immigrants to Canada came from the UK, and Europe for the most part.  Didn’t typically have any significant amount of education  Didn’t bring positive attitudes towards education with them o Socioeconomic background of immigrants  In Asian communities, education tends to be highly valued.  Have a home life that helps support doing well in school  To find out how a student is doing in school, sometimes looking at their home life is a good determinant o Colonialism  Can schools make a difference? o Could compare the test scores of areas with schools, or those without schools  These communities don’t exist. o Can’t come up with a definitive answer to this question o Do differences on test scores get larger or smaller during the summer?  Larger  Functionalists:  During the school year the gap between high status and low status students gets smaller  During the summer, the gap increases  This is correct, because schooling does get rid of some of the advantages that higher status students have.  Conflict Theorists:  During the school year, the gap between high status and low status students gets wider  During the summer, the gap decreases  Already talks of shortening the summer by rearranging the school year. o School do make some kind of a difference in the gap between lower status students and higher level students  Gets rid of some of the advantages that higher status students have. Fractured Transitions from School to Work: revisiting the dropout problem (Tanner, Hartnagel, and Krahn 1995)  Study of high school dropouts in Edmonton, Alberta o Interviews with 168 male and female dropouts  Fairly successful at have an equal number of males and females  Tried to have both people who found jobs, and people who didn’t  Basically tried to have a bunch of people who were all diverse. o Research question: how oppositional are high school dropouts?  Why did they drop out of school? o Had a survey with open and closed ended questions  Open ended meant that students could give basically as many responses as they wanted  Without these open ended questions, they wouldn’t have gotten the findings that they were looking for. o Reasons for Dropping Out  School Based – 60%  Didn’t like school  Didn’t like a specific teacher  Didn’t like the curriculum  Skipping  This is an indication of opposition or rebellion against schools  They were shocked at how little commitment the dropouts had to schooling  Job/Money Related – 16%  Family didn’t have much money, needed to work to help support them  This became a problem because at one time finding a part-time job was very easy and could even be encouraged to drop out.  No one in this study answered saying they quit school because they had a job 
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