Outline and assess sociological explanations for changes in educational attainment by females.

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A plan for this question OCR A Level Sociology

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Outline and assess sociological explanations for changes in educational attainment by females.
1 Introduction
1.1 In the past girls have academically underachieved and at present girls are over achieving.
1.2 The job market - Half of women in employment in 1960 – in 2006, risen to three quarters
1.3 Female expectations – see their role as more than mother/housewife
2 Sharpe
2.1 Sharpe’s research in the early 1990’s noted that girls priorities had changed over a 20 year span.
2.1.1 They no longer saw marriage and children as a priority, rather it was a career which dominated their thoughts.
2.2 Sharpe conducted the survey in 1976 then in 1994
2.3 In 1976 girl main priorities started with LOVE and ended with CAREERS.
2.4 In 1994 she found priorities had completely changed with JOBS and CAREERS leading with LOVE AND MARRIAGE losing the top positions.
3 Spender
3.1 Teachers give boys and girls different types of attention.
3.2 Girls are praised for appearance, good behaviour and neat work.
3.2.1 These qualities are view less highly than the creativity or individuality of boys.
4 Colley
4.1 Found still gender differences in option choices despite the N.C
4.2 She argues this affects students perceptions of subjects.
5 Jackson
5.1 Investigated a growing culture of ‘laddishness’ among girls (aggression, loudness, language, drinking)
5.2 She used questionnaires and interviews with year 9 pupils.
5.3 Girls adopt this behaviour as it makes them seem cool, and if they don't do well, they can pretend it is because they don’t care.
5.4 She believes this stems from the competition between schools and the pressure of girls to perform in examination
6 Radical Feminist Views
6.1 Radical feminists dispute changes
6.2 Primary schools may be more feminine but males dominate top positions
6.3 Girls progress in education is not replicated in the job market – still a glass ceiling women earn about 80% of what men earn
6.4 Boys may develop anti school subcultures but this is nothing new and they tend to be working class.
7 General Facts
7.1 Mothers tend to read to their children so it is seemed as a feminine activity.
7.2 Girls often get books for Christmas and birthdays.
7.3 There has been a big shift in society (feminism) and this means girls have bigger ambitions for their future.
8 Evaluation
8.1 Women are still seen as primary carers for children (maternity leave is longer than paternity leave) and so may have to work part-time or give up work after having children.
8.2 Crisis of masculinity (New Man, metrosexual, retrosexual): Men are unsure of their roles in society.
8.2.1 Mac an Ghaill
8.3 Some feminists concerned that girls are still underachieving.
8.4 This debate may also be influenced social class as well as gender – m/c girls out perform any other group.
8.5 Gilborn and Mirza
8.5.1 Class is still the most important factor influencing differential educational achievement, thought to have twice the effect of ethnicity – and 5 times that of gender
8.6 Marxists would argue that it is nothing to do with gender and is much more to do with class and the capitalist society.
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