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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences eTheses
Title: The role of families in the stratification of attainment: Parental occupations, parental education and family structure in the 1990s.
Authors: Playford, C. J.
Supervisor(s): Gayle, Vernon
Lambert, Paul
Keywords: GCSE
GCSE attainment
Youth Cohort Study
Parental Occupation
Parental Education
Family Structure
Latent Class Analysis
Multiple Imputation
Issue Date: 11-Aug-2011
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: The closing decades of the 20th century have witnessed a large increase in the numbers of young people remaining in education post-16 rather than entering the labour market. Concurrently, overall educational attainment in General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) qualifications in England and Wales has steadily increased since their introduction in 1988. The 1990s represent a key period of change in these trends. Some sociologists argue that processes of detraditionalisation have occurred whereby previous indicators of social inequality, such as social class, are less relevant to the transitions of young people from school to work. Sociologists from other traditions argue that inequalities persist in the stratification of educational attainment by the family backgrounds of young people but that these factors have changed during this period. This thesis is an investigation of the influence of family background factors upon GCSE attainment during the 1990s. This includes extensive statistical analysis of measures of parental occupation, parental education and family structure with gender, ethnicity, school type and housing tenure type within the Youth Cohort Study of England and Wales. These analyses include over 100,000 respondents in 6 cohorts of school leavers with the harmonisation of data from cohort 6 (1992) to the Youth Cohort Time Series for England, Wales and Scotland 1984-2002 (Croxford, Ianelli and Shapira 2007). By adding the 1992 data to existing 1990s cohorts, the statistical models fitted apply to the complete set of 1990s cohorts and are therefore able to provide insight for the whole of this period. Strong differentials by parental occupation persist throughout the 1990s and do not diminish despite the overall context of rising attainment. This relationship remains net of the other factors listed, irrespective of the measure of parental occupation or the GCSE attainment outcome measure used. This builds upon and supports previous work conducted using the Youth Cohort Study and suggests that stratification in educational attainment remains a significant factor. Gender and ethnicity remain further sources of persistent stratification in GCSE attainment. Following a discussion of the weighting system and features of the Youth Cohort Study as a dataset, a thorough investigation of missing data is included, with the results of multiply imputed datasets used to examine the potential for missing data to bias estimates. This includes a critique of these approaches in the context of survey data analysis. The findings from this investigation suggest the importance of survey data collection methods, the limitations of post-survey bias correction methods and provide a thorough investigation of the data. The analysis then develops and expands previous work by investigating variation in GCSE attainment by subjects studied, through Latent Class Analysis of YCS cohort 6 (1992). Of the four groups identified in the model, a clear division is noted between those middle-attaining groups with respect to attainment in Science and Mathematics. GCSE attainment in combinations of subjects studied is stratified particularly with respect to gender and ethnicity. This research offers new insight into the role of family background factors in GCSE attainment by subject combination.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: School of Applied Social Science

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