ERIC Number: ED256858
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1985-Apr
The College Preparatory Curriculum at Two High Schools in One School District.
Hanson, Susan G.
To investigate whether students taking the same courses in different high schools receive comparable instruction, research was conducted in sophomore, college-preparatory classrooms in two schools (one upper middle class and suburban, the other working class and inner-city) in one California school district. At the upper middle class school, it was found, the curriculum emphasized: (1) facts and skills that could be learned as "rules"; (2) technical knowledge (i.e., computers, mathematics, sciences); and (3) planning ahead. The curriculum at the working class school emphasized understanding the "basic idea" and forming personal opinions and responses. Cultural reproduction theory, when applied to these findings, suggests that the knowledge offered to the upper middle class students is the very knowledge that is most valued by society, while the working class school was at a disadvantage because its curriculum, although challenging, was not in line with current thinking about what skills are needed for college. Moreover, the working class students were not exposed to achievement-oriented values as the upper middle class students were. It appears that "standardizing" a curriculum does not guarantee equity: equal learning opportunities may at first appear to be largely determined by the content of the curriculum; actually they are closely linked to how the curriculum is organized and presented on a daily basis. (KH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A