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Achievement in British Education

Achievement in British Education is a branch of British Sociology which examines and discusses the factors influencing the achievement of pupils who are taught by the British education system.

Table of contents
1 Overview
2 The effect of intelligence
3 The effect of class
4 The effect of ethnicity
5 The effect of gender


To a greater degree, British education suffers from the class-based nature of British society, in that it has been proven that class affects educational achievement by British children more than the other two main factors put together - gender and ethnicity.

As a rough guide, the effect of class, ethnicity and gender affect educational achievement is in a ratio of 11:4:2, so that class is 5.5 times more likely to affect achievement than gender, and ethnicity is twice as likely as gender to affect achievement.

The idea that British education is Meritocratic is not held in high regard by Sociologists, as even Functionalist Sociologists acknowledge the undue effect of class, gender and ethnicity.

The effect of intelligence

Insofar as it is possible, it has been disproved that educational achievement is dependent on intelligence to any measurable degree. Sociologists have tested children from different backgrounds/genders/ethnicities, and found that those who are equal according to these tests still do achieve differently in education.

Also, there is no really valid measure (or even a definition) of intelligence, as IQ tests have been discredited and intelligence can be defined in many different ways.

The effect of class

Being born into a higher class family is the greatest determinant of educational achievement in Britain, with the average child of a higher class family doing far better than an average working class child.

There are many theoretical/proven factors in this:

It must be stated however that this does not mean that all working-class children will fail (on the contrary, the author of this text is from a working-class family and has done/is doing quite well educationally), but it is less likely that they will do well given all of the above.

The effect of ethnicity

To be done

The effect of gender

After ethnicity, gender is the next greatest determinant of achievement.

Up until recently, girls did not do as well as boys. However, in recent time this has reversed, with Girls doing better than Boys in education as a rule.

There are many theoretical/proven factors in this:

It is also interesting to note that girls are still do not have full equal opportunities in education, but are already doing better than boys. The inequalities still left are: