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Title: Nurturing inequality : how structural and psychological processes create difference among primary school children
Author: Campbell, T.
ISNI:       0000 0004 8497 7774
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis makes a unique contribution to knowledge with three papers presenting new empirical evidence on factors involved in early educational inequalities. The first explores whether streaming influences teachers' judgements of children. It investigates whether pupils who perform equivalently in cognitive tests, and who are similar according to a wide range of additional characteristics, are perceived differently by their teachers in line with their stream placement level. By testing associations across situations and subjects, consistent indications that stream placement has an effect on judgement are produced. Streaming is becoming more prevalent within early primary schooling, so this paper makes a timely contribution to the debate on whether the practice is efficient or equitable. The second paper investigates bias and stereotyping in teachers' perceptions of pupils. It compares children's manifest performance to teachers' judgements of their ability and attainment, and indicates biases according to all key pupil-level characteristics documented as underpinning gaps in primary achievement. It therefore questions prevalent policy assumptions regarding the construction of early educational inequalities, and suggests that refocussing policy to include more understanding of the impact of bias and stereotyping could help tackle disparities. The third paper examines whether early in-class ability grouping may play a part in forming the 'month of birth effect,' where children relatively younger in their year group attain lower academic levels than their comparatively older peers. It focusses on teachers' early judgements of children, and compares pupils in schools that in-class group to those not grouping in this way. It shows more polarisation by birth month in teachers' evaluations when grouping takes place. As teachers' judgements influence children's education both at an everyday level and through formal assessments, this suggests that early grouping might be important to birth month inequalities, and that cessation of the practice may increase parity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available