Education and the Conflict Perspective: A College Admissions Committee Activity


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This in-class activity is designed to illustrate the conflict perspective and to further a student’s understanding of how the education system perpetuates economic, gender and social class inequalities. In this activity, students take on the role of a college admissions committee member and assess potential candidates for admission in small groups. As small groups decide on whom they will admit, the instructor gives updates that change the admission process’ dynamics. As the updates come in, students will be challenged to address the real life constraints and wrestle with which candidate to admit. This activity engages the entire classroom and requires students to interact directly with their classmates in their discussion of education system and the conflict perspective.


Resource Type(s):
Class Activity 
Todd W. Ferguson, Baylor University
Brita Andercheck, Baylor University
Paul McClure, Baylor University  
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Usage Notes:

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Set-up: Before class, create the update slides and print off the sheet “Fake College Admissions Committee Handout” for each student.

Learning Goals and Assessments:

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Goal 1:
Students will engage with the conflict perspective and understand its application to the institution of education.
Assessment 1:
By working in small groups to select candidates for admission, students will understand the pressures within the educational system that often lead to increased inequality.
Goal 2:
Students will learn about the education system and its intersections with other major areas of sociology: gender, race and social class.
Assessment 2:
Through in-class voting and discussion, students will hear and debate other opinions about how applicants’ race, class, and gender affected their admission choices.
Goal 3:
Students will understand the social implications of inequality in the education system.
Assessment 3:
By examining each applicant’s outcome, students will recognize how their admissions choices furthered inequality within the education system.

Files for Download:

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Education and The Conflict Perspective_Handout.pdf
Education and The Conflict Perspective_Instructions.pdf
Education and The Conflict Perspective_Slides.pptx
Fake College Shield.jpg