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The causes for the poor achievement of low-SES white
British pupils are broad and complex. The obvious factor affecting
underachievement in these children is the low-SES of their families. The family
SES affects a range of important predictors, such as availability of necessary
resources and social capital, along with child’s state of health, availability
of high-quality school resources, after-class activities and summer experiences
(Sirin, 2005). Parenting style is another important predictor of educational
success. Low-SES families in which children experience a lot of family-related
stress tend to experience underachievement (Lee?Corbin & Evans, 1996).
Similarly, family’s disengagement from child’s education, lack of communication,
poverty of expectations, and negative attitude towards education prevent an
effective development of the skills necessary for child’s efficient academic
performance (Dornbusch et al., 1987). In more specific, school-related context,
however, factors such as teachers’ low expectations and inadequate handling of
disciplinary issues by head-teachers were shown to directly affect low
children’s attainment (Demie 2003). As well as that, researcher have noted a
negative peer pressure, inappropriate teachers’ expertise that fails to
encourage and motivate, lack of support provided by teachers and inability of
the national curriculum to understand the needs and interests of students
coming from low-income families (Gillborn & Youdell, 2009) among factors to
affect student disengagement from learning. Despite such a variety of external
factors, the most crucial factor to affect child’s low performance lies within
the child. The theory of identity-based motivations has shown that children
from low-income families tend to build a self-concept that contains
underachievement attribute as a personal characteristic to which they adhere
(Oyserman, 2007).

As it has been shown, the problem of underperformance
of children from low-SES is not only a problem for children. Parents, whose
participation in child’s development directly affects child’s performance at
school, play a crucial role in the composition
of education reform strategies. Educators are also involved in the formation of achievement gap statistics as they
are interested in teaching the students not only to achieve a certain test score
but also to realize their full potential as an individual. The business community is specifically
concerned with far-reaching consequences of low academic achievement, as it
leads to an increased level of unemployment and poverty in society and makes it
unable to compete in the international
labour market. Lastly, policymakers and legislators are involved in the issue
of underachievement as they are responsible for establishment and management of
academic standards and the distribution of necessary resources. Thus, to ensure
the welfare of individuals and community they have to rely on accurate
statistical data related to teaching and learning (SEDL, 2011). 

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