Foundations of Education


Closely examines an individual case study which addresses the impact of socio-economic status on educational attainment.

Key Concepts

  • socioeconomic status

Graded Tasks

  • contribute to the LMS forums

Socioeconomic Status and Educational Attainment

Page 186 of the textbook reading includes the following text:

"The socioeconomic status of a child’s family has been shown repeatedly to be one of the strongest indicators of a child’s educational outcomes…Socioeconomic status refers to the income of a family, but also to other factors that determine how much income a family can make, such as level of education of parents and their occupations. Indeed, low socioeconomic status not only is associated with poor grades, but also is a strong predictor of dropping out of school and skipping school. Research has shown that an achievement gap exists between children from low-income families and other families. In other words, children from poor families tend to do less well at school."

Page 678 of William Little's Introduction to Sociology textbook includes the following text which illustrates a hypothetical account of the relationship between socio-economic status and educational opportunity:

"Picture a student from a working-class home who wants to do well in school. On a Monday, he’s assigned a paper that’s due Friday. Monday evening, he has to babysit his younger sister while his divorced mother works. Tuesday and Wednesday he works stocking shelves after school until 10:00 p.m. By Thursday, the only day he might have available to work on that assignment, he is so exhausted he cannot bring himself to start the paper.

His mother, though she would like to help him, is so tired herself that she isn’t able to give him the encouragement or support he needs. Since English is her second language, she has difficulty with some of his educational materials. They also lack a computer and printer at home, which most of his classmates have, so they have to rely on the public library or school system for access to technology.

As this story shows, many students from working-class families have to contend with helping out at home, contributing financially to the family, having poor study environments, and lacking material support from their families. This is a difficult match with education systems that adhere to a traditional curriculum that is more easily understood and completed by students of higher social classes."


Little, William. (2016). Introduction to Sociology. (2nd Canadian Edition). Victoria, BC: BCcampus.

Robson, Karen L. (2019). Sociology of Education in Canada. Toronto: Open Library Press Books.
📌 The anecdote above may resonant with a number of students in the course who similarly face challenges which have the potential to impact their university studies. To assist students with a variety of life's challenges, schools and universities have prioritized support services for students. At Brock University, these services are listed at the BU4U website, introduced in Week 1 of the course.

Socioeconomic Equity Case Study

Read the following The New Yorker/ProPublica article which focuses on 12-year-old Shemar’s educational and life experiences during the current pandemic:

MacGillis, Alex. (2020). The students left behind by remote learning. The New Yorker/ProPublica. October 5. URL:

Log into the LMS and answer the following forum question which is a graded task:
Q9.3: With direct reference to three of the 'key concepts' introduced on any of the topic pages for this week, explain how Shemar's educational and/or life experiences illustrate important concepts related to the sociology of education and/or educational equity. In your post, bold each key concept you reference. (Actions: Post (Mon-Thu) and Respond (Fri- Sun) | 200 - 250 words total)
LMS Forum Question
📌 A reminder that the key concepts for a topic page (if any) are listed on the left hand side of the topic page.