, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 141-180

Academic failure, student social conflict, and delinquent behavior

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This paper reviews key literature from several disciplinary and theoretical perspectives in exploring the relationship between various forms of academic failure in schools and a range of critical student attitudes and behaviors. It is argued that both the process of schooling, and the taken-for-granted assumptions which support this process, serve to manufacture, in large part, negative student attitudes and anti-social behaviors. The seeming conflict between survey and ethnographic data concerning the impact of academic failure is discussed within the context of competing explanatory paradigms. The paper concludes with a discussion of the ways in which differing data-gathering strategies might be combined to generate a more complete view of the everyday process and outcomes of schooling.

A revision of a paper presented at the 1980 meeting of the American Psychological Association, Montreal, Canada
The work contained herein has been funded by the National Institute of Education. However, the opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the position or policies of the Institute, and no official endorsement should be inferred.