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Correlation of socioeconomic group and academic performance. Radford, Denise Yvonne

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to identify a culturally deprived Vancouver Elementary School population through a correlation of socioeconomic group and academic performance. Two assumptions were made in this paper: one was that intelligence is not a fixed entity, predetermined at birth; the second was that unequal treatment is justified if we aspire to equality of opportunity. To show a relationship between socioeconomic group and academic performance, the school population had to be ranked on a socioeconomic scale and an academic scale. Since a lower-class group was of most interest, districts were scored on their proximity to description of lower class. The criteria of a low socioeconomic group was low income, high percentage of laborers and low educational attainments. These factors were considered significant in Warner's book on stratification, Social Class in America. The figures for these factors were taken from the Dominion Bureau of Statistics census figures. The school performance was ranked according to scores on the Stanford Achievement Tests. The correlation between the paired ranks of the socioeconomic class the school served and school performance was made using Spearman's Rank Correlation Coefficient. The resulting correlation was .77. Generally lower-class district schools received the lowest test scores, while the higher socioeconomic districts received the highest test scores. Two questionnaires were developed, one for principals and one for special counsellors, to see if equipment and services were given equally to all schools, irrespective of the socioeconomic district the school served. The results showed a very slight advantage for the poorer schools in terms of special classes, audio-visual equipment, counsellor services, and hot lunch provision. This partial response to certain of the educational problems of the lower socioeconomic districts could be broadened. It would seem that the results of this study would warrant an investigation of the possibility of setting up an organized program for the culturally deprived in Vancouver.

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