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(Mis)understanding underachievement: a response to Connolly

Gorard, Stephen and Smith, Emma (2008) (Mis)understanding underachievement: a response to Connolly. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 29 (6). pp. 705-714. ISSN 1465-3346

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URL of Published Version: http://docserver.ingentaconnect.com/deliver/connect/routledg/01425692/v29n6/s11.pdf?expires=1263388686&id=54379203&titleid=342&accname=University+of+Birmingham&checksum=A31AEB41B4558D49EB1F2C67740B452D

Identification Number/DOI: 10.1080/01425690802423379

In British Journal of Sociology of Education Volume 29 number 3, 2008, Connolly presented what he termed a 'critical review' of some of our previous work on the relative attainment of male and female students in UK schools. He proposed three general areas for criticism - our use of attainment gaps, our consideration of outcomes other than at specific thresholds, and our querying of the idea of student 'underachievement'. These problems, he claimed, have 'given rise to a number of misleading conclusions that have questionable implications for practice'. However, those of his 'criticisms' with any merit are actually the same as our own conclusions, transmuted by Connolly from our papers that he cites, while his remaining 'criticisms' are based on faulty elementary logic. In case readers have not read our work and were somehow misled by Connolly, we give here a brief reply to each criticism in turn. This matters, because a greater understanding of patterns of attainment and of the nature of underachievement is a precursor to the design of successful initiatives to overcome inequalities in educational opportunity and reward. This is both a practical and an ethical issue.

Type of Work:Article
Date:06 November 2008 (Publication)
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:School of Education
Additional Information:

This is a preprint of an article whose final and definitive form has been published in the British Journal of Sociology of Education (c) 2008
Copyright Taylor & Francis; is available online
athttp://www.informaworld.com / <http://journalsonline.tandf.co>

Subjects:L Education (General)
Institution:University of Birmingham
Copyright Holders:Taylor and Francis
ID Code:273
Refereed:YES
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