Advertisements
Skip to content
December 30, 2008 / C H Thompson

Ethnicity and attainment

by Sam Cook a former student

As you will have read in the previous two posts the achievement of ethnic minority pupils in British schools is very complex. It is important not to see ethnic minorities as a homogenised (single) group this is because the patterns ofrace_exam_results (1) achievement are varied. Pupils of Indian and Chinese origin tend to do very well, out-performing both the average and the scores of white pupils. By contrast, pupils of Pakistani origin show a very varied pattern of achievement with some doing very well and others relatively poorly.

Your revision will be made easier by using the same approach as used above. Remember to isolate factors inside school from those factors outside school. Similarly refer back to the previous sections on social-class backgrounds; speech and language codes as well as material and cultural factors.

One question that regularly appears is one in which candidates are asked to “Assess the performance of different ethnic groups.” To answer this question you have to appreciate and recognise the different levels of attainment between these groups as well as considering attainment levels of white children!

Repeating the data substantiates this point:

Attainment – GCSES (5 A*-C grades including Maths and English) Attainment by ethnicity has improved since 2006/7, and achievement gaps between some ethnic groups and the national level have disappeared. Other ethnic groups, such as Chinese students, have far higher levels of attainment compared to the national level. It is worth highlighting however that Pakistani and Black Caribbean young people still have lower attainment levels than the national level. The data for 2010/11 is as follows:

  • The national level, and the percentage of White British pupils achieving 5 A*-C grades including Maths and English, is 58%. This compares to around 45% in 2006/07.
  • Chinese students are the highest attaining group, with 78.5% achieving 5 A*-C grades including Maths and English. This compares to 70% in 2006/07.
  • Indian students are the second highest attaining group, with 74.4% achieving 5 A*-C grades including Maths and English. This compares to around 62% in 2006/07.
  • Bangladeshi pupils now have a slightly higher attainment rate than White pupils, with 59.7% 5 A*-C grades including Maths and English. This is a massive improvement given that only around 40% achieved this 2006/07, which was 5% less than White pupils and the National Level.
  • There has also been an improvement for Black African pupils, with 57.9% achieving 5 A*-C grades including Maths and English, compared to just over 40% achieving this in 2006/07. A similar level of improvement can be seen for mixed White and Black African pupils.
  • However, Pakistani and Black Caribbean young people still have lower attainment levels compared to the national level, with 52.6% and 48.6% respectively achieving 5 A*-C grades including Maths and English. This has, however, improved from around 35% for Pakistani and 34% for Black Caribbean pupils in 2006/07.

• Travellers, Gypsies and Roma are still the lowest achieving groups, with 17.5% of Irish Travellers and 10.8% of those from Gypsy or Roma backgrounds achieving 5 A*-C grades including Maths and English. This has improved from 2006/07 when only 5% of these groups combined achieved the required grades.

As you can see the image above highlights the different levels of attainment between the different ethnic groups. The questions sociologists ask is why is there this difference? The proceeding information will help to answer this complex question.

The first set of clips examines Factors Outside School and starts with the first clip examining Material Factors

The second clip examines Cultural Factors

The third clip examines the role of Language

Now we look at Factors Inside School

Refering back to our previous study on gender differences. It is important to note here that girls are in general doing better in every ethnic grouping! And this is evident in the first clip at the top of this page.

It is also important to note that the debate about the performance and differences of performance is still an ongoing debate as these links will testify.

Black pupils attainment improves – BBC; Black and Asian teenagers flock to university – Mail; White working-class left behind –BBC

Return to education overview

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: