NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
PDF on ERIC Download full text
ERIC Number: EJ1006224
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Jun
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 29
ISSN: ISSN-1097-9638
Children's Cultural Capital and Teachers' Assessments of Effort and Ability: The Influence of School Sector
Dumais, Susan A.
Catholic Education: A Journal of Inquiry and Practice, v8 n4 p418-439 Jun 2005
Bourdieu (1973) theorized that differences in social background correspond to differences in possession of cultural resources (cultural capital), as well as the orientation to those resources (habitus). Additionally, Bourdieu argued that struggles for power occur in different settings (fields). This essay reviews Bourdieu's main ideas and describes how they may apply to the American educational system. In particular, two settings are considered: public elementary schools and Catholic elementary schools. Based on analyses using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS), Catholic school kindergarteners are more likely to participate in arts activities, and their parents are more likely to be involved in and comfortable with the school environment. Regression analyses show that arts lessons and attendance at arts events do not affect teachers' perceptions of the effort or ability of students in either public or Catholic schools. Parents' orientation toward school has more of an effect in public than in Catholic schools. In public schools, attending open houses and conferences, volunteering, and feeling unwelcome at school all affect teachers' evaluations of students' effort and ability, while only attendance at school events and conferences affect teachers' perceptions in Catholic schools. These findings suggest that the traditional definition of cultural capital may not be appropriate for young American children, that parents' orientation toward schooling should be included in future studies of educational stratification, and that more research is needed in the examination of public-Catholic school differences in cultural resources. (Contains 3 tables.)
Boston College. Roche Center for Catholic Education, 25 Lawrence Avenue, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467. Tel: 617-552-0701; Fax: 617-552-0579; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey