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Critical Analysis

Discuss about the Research Review for Rising Inequality Schools.

The research review aims to understand, contextualize and evaluate how quantitative data is produced and utilized.  In order to accomplish the present task, the review would consider media reporting of a piece of research published in the present year, which produced quantitative data on a chosen topic of sociological interest.  This review would select a media reporting from the Daily Express and the survey was done by ComRes.

The selected report focuses on children from underprivileged backgrounds, suffering from lack of social mobility in the context of education. In the UK, it is seen that the young students from underprivileged backgrounds are less likely to enroll in university programs compared to their peers with wealthier family background. The data obtained from a survey of 1002 undergraduate students, who were studying in university in the UK. Data were measured by gender, university group and age. The data were gathered by ComRes, a member of the British Polling Council (Express.co.uk 2016).

ComRes carried out the survey for Teach First, a social enterprise, which is listed as a charity, strives to deal with educational shortcoming in Wales and England. The selected population was the undergraduate students and data were measured by gender, university group and age, which indicate the utilization of purposive random sampling by the research group.

In random sampling, individuals in the target population get an equal chance of selection. Purposive sampling is structured to serve a specific purpose. In the selected research, experiences of the students regarding university admission have been explored. Therefore, selection of the university students was highly significant, as they are the most suitable individuals, who could effectively express their opinions, views and concerns regarding university administration. The selected study represents online field-work, which is a type of research methodology that considers ethnographic factors created via computer-assisted social interaction. As seen in this survey, ComRes surveyed undergraduate students and also categorized based on gender, university group and age. As a part of social research, considering ethnography of the survey is highly significant. It enables the researchers to obverse society from the perspective of the study subjects. Considering this, the researchers have phrased questions, such as, when a participant student decided to apply for university, influencing factors that made them apply to the University of their Choice and so on. The questions were phrased in a legible way so that the participants do not temporize to answer.        

Suggestions for Addressing the Issues

The data were gathered in an appropriate way. It is evident that the researchers while found majority of the respondents express a particular opinion, they adequately allowed them to express an alternative opinion. For instance, the respondents were asked about the influential factors that help the students to choose a university of their choice. Respondents, who agreed about the presence of an influencing factor, were further surveyed to understand a specific factor, by providing them with options like course reputation, university reputation, financial factors, distance of the university from home, recommendation, peer factor, and so on. Another prominent support in this context would be that the students were asked about sources of information that might have influenced their decision to enroll for university. Respondents, who have agreed to the application of information, were further enquired to understand the most preferred option, like a university visit, advice from family members, information from school, business professionals, and so on.   

From the survey it was found that almost 21% of the undergraduate students are confident about their application to a university of their choice. Undergraduate students from wealthier socio-economical background (grade A and grade B), 48% and 45%, respectively are likely to apply for their higher studies compared to students from lower social grade (grade C1 and C2), 34% and 30%, respectively. 81% students report that their friends and families expect them to register for higher studies, whereas, 19% surprised their friends and family members by applying to a university. University reputation is a major factor that the students consider to a greater extent (71%), while applying for higher studies in a university of their choice (Express.co.uk 2016). Due to this survey, various significant suggestions have emerged from respective higher authorities. For instance, with a rapid change in the education system, reintroduction of grammar schools to develop social mobility has been suggested.


Changes in government approaches have also been identified. Changes should include development of more associated strategies, which would connect individual steps of a young individual’s education journey. The report also revealed three major hindrances that the students from the underprivileged group face to pursue higher education. The students from poor social background fall behind their well-off peers in achievement. They pose inadequate awareness regarding opportunities in the universities and they hardly receive quality support, which could change aspiration to reality. These in turn demonstrate a need to adequately deal with the issues in a harmonized way in order to ensure reasonable access to the university. Better practices need to be implemented in order to raise more attendance in schools though improved leadership and teaching. The responsible authorities need to offer effective training so that they could extend more support for the students and make sure that they understand probable options and take right decisions.

Similar Research Studies

A report by Kent County Council, also mentioned about the effectiveness of the reintroduction of grammar schools to develop social mobility (Kent County Council 2016). This data provides a support to the findings reported in the Daily Express. It is also evident from the existing literature that that the government of the respective states, education authorities, policy makers are agreed to the fact that they need to merge their efforts in a planned way and take the responsibility to support progress, lack of which could make them to miss the opportunities to build better nations at the present era of rapid globalization. The education of the underprivileged children should be at the heart of related agendas. Gregory et al. (2010) similarly supported the idea of practical and realistic recommendation like working collaboratively with parents, students and schools to encourage better engagement with the families and parents by the grammar schools and primary schools. This would further promote greater outreach comprising better scope to get enrolled in renowned universities to pursue higher studies, better preparation and mentoring, eliminating financial barriers like school transport and so on. Duncan and Murnane (2011) in this regard have mentioned about prioritization and implementation of Student premium while signing admission agreements. Another report published by the International Business Times (2014) demonstrated associations between low educational outcome and parents’ educational level, which demonstrated that children tend to have low educational outcome if their parents had low level of education. It is also established that children from underprivileged family attend schools with limited resources and facilities that in turn hinder them from accessing good quality childcare and early education. Inadequate financial resources generate stress and depression, which affect the parents to support their children. However, the report did not provide any quantitative data set, presence of which would have improved the authenticity of the report.


The chosen report provides a good account of the research. The questionnaire survey further ensures the accuracy and reliability of the published results. Similar report published by the New York Times, demonstrated the presence of education gap between poor and rich, which in growing at a rapid rate (Porter 2015). The report majorly focuses on racial disparities in the education by considering the children from the African-American background. A test score deficit was demonstrated in certain subjects. Besides, the report also focused on the children from lower socio-economic background and explored the challenges they face while planning to pursue higher studies. Poor health issues were identified as one of the major hindrance that restrict the children from going to the private pre-schools and other enrichment opportunities like extra lessons, arts, music, sports, and so on, as major amount of the household income spent to access health services. Thus, it could be stated that selection of the present media report is also suitable.   

Reardon (2011) in this regard has mentioned about the difficulties teachers face while serving the minority and poor children. Some teachers believe that managing children coming from underprivileged community is more difficult. Teachers also need to deliver very basic instruction as the disadvantaged students should understand, which indicates the existence of a huge gap. The proficiency gap could be narrowed down and achievement could be equalized at the very preliminary age of education, up to 14years (Riddell 2013). This practice would ultimately close the gaps exits in college enrollment. A report by Tavernise (2012) illustrated that the policy makers are thinking and implementing beyond improving curriculums and teachers. In order to bring underprivileged students up to speed, parents are also encouraged to take part in the collaborative efforts. The parents are informed about best practices in parenting, increasing their pays and supporting them to deal with overlapping needs of family and work.

Conclusion

In a nutshell, the review completely explained how the findings are generated and reported by using a set of survey questionnaire. Social mobility is referred to be the association between social class and income of individuals in the early years and their social class or income in later life (Milburn 2012). The difference may affect an individual to greater extent considering social, financial, emotional wellbeing (Clark 2014). From the comparison between two different sources of reports on same topic demonstrates the presence of inequality in education across the globe. The review situated the findings in terms of already existing literature on the selected topic and evaluated the method of data collection by supporting with appropriate literature.

References

Clark, G., 2014. The son also rises: surnames and the history of social mobility. Princeton University Press.

Duncan, G.J. and Murnane, R.J. eds., 2011. Whither opportunity?: Rising inequality, schools, and children's life chances. Russell Sage Foundation.

Express.co.uk. (2016). Poorer children still suffer from lack of social mobility in education. [online] Available at: https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/700052/poorer-children-social-mobility-school-further-education-university-poll [Accessed 20 Nov. 2016].

Gregory, A., Skiba, R.J. and Noguera, P.A., 2010. The achievement gap and the discipline gap two sides of the same coin?. Educational Researcher, 39(1), pp.59-68.

International Business Times UK. (2016). UK Social Mobility: ONS Warns a Lack of Education is Keeping Children in Poverty. [online] Available at: https://www.ibtimes.co.uk/uk-social-mobility-ons-warns-lack-education-keeping-children-poverty-1466817 [Accessed 20 Nov. 2016].

Kent County Council, (2016). Grammar schools and social mobility Select Committee.

Milburn, A., 2012. University challenge: How higher education can advance social mobility. A progress report by the Independent Reviewer on Social Mobility and Child Poverty. Cabinet Office UK.

Porter, E., 2015. Education Gap Between Rich and Poor Is Growing Wider. New York Times.

Reardon, S.F., 2011. The widening academic achievement gap between the rich and the poor: New evidence and possible explanations. Whither opportunity, pp.91-116.

Riddell, R., 2013. Social mobility and education. A Student's Guide to Education Studies, p.22.

Tavernise, S., 2012. Education gap grows between rich and poor, studies say. New York Times, 9.
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