Education, Social Background and Cognitive Ability: The Decline of the Social by Gary N. Marks Haaks op analyses en standpunten van Vlaamse sociologen
The conclusion is clear: the reproduction of socio-economic inequalities in Western societies is not nearly as strong as so often assumed (p.234) and the impact of socio-economic background is further weakened when taking into account cognitive ability.
In contrast to those academics, policymakers, and politicians who maintain that there is a strong relationship between disadvantage and academic achievement, Chapter 7 sets out to demonstrate that the link between socio-economic factors and attainment is not as powerful as one might assume.
Focussing upon test scores, family background, and socio-economic background variables, Marks finds that the relationship between socio-economic factors and educational outcomes is moderate at best, which refutes theories that link socio-economic background and attainment in a fiercely deterministic manner. Instead, his review of studies on adoptees, twins, and siblings imply that attainment is linked to biological rather than social factors and he finds that there is a strong relationship between childhood ability and later school performance. Indeed, in analysing data from longitudinal studies, Marks argues that any relationship between social disadvantage and achievement is becoming increasingly insignificant over time.
His conclusion is clear: the reproduction of socio-economic inequalities in Western societies is not nearly as strong as so often assumed (p.234) and the impact of socio-economic background is further weakened when taking into account cognitive ability.
To draw the text to a close, Marks firmly rejects reproduction theory and positions his findings within modernization theory, maintaining that deliberations on education policy should not be based on the premise that the bulk of inequalities in education can be attributed to socioeconomic background (p. 237). As such, he appeals to policymakers to reconsider policies that aim to address social disadvantage through increased funds and enhanced services, calling upon them to instead to focus on underperforming students no matter their social background