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School Effectiveness
The school effect- David Smith & Sally Tomlinson 1989
Some schools are better then others. Smith and
Tomlinson followed over 2400 pupils aged 11-16 in 18
different multi-cultural comprehensives. They found that
different schools achieved very different results with
children of a similar background and ability. They
believed "what school a child goes to makes far more
difference than the ethnic group he or she belongs to."
David Gillborn and David Drew stated that "Crucially
their work reminds us that individual schools posses
the power to influence the educational experiences,
achievements and future life chances of their pupils."
In addition to this they see two major problems with
Smith's and Tomlinson's study. Methodology- Their
sample size,. It only consisted of 146 African
Caribbean pupils aged 16, this is a small number on
which to base a conclusion. The second is that Smith
and Tomlinson's view that racism was not a
significant factor in effecting students of an ethnic
minority. The questionnaire that was given to parents
and teachers suggested that racism was not a
problem. However extensive research suggests that
racism is widespread in many schools, and may well
have a significant effect on educational attainment.…read more

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Racism in Schools
Racism refers to prejudice and discrimination against
groups seen as racially different.
Prejudice: members of a groups are prejudicial in terms
of negative stereotypes, generalisations that are made
about all members of a group.
Discrimination: Acting against people because of the
prejudicial views you have towards them as a member
of a group.
Discrimination and Setting
Jayleigh- a comprehensive school. In 1988, 41% of its
pupils were of Asian origin. At Jayleigh a greater
proportion of white students 77% were entered for their
GCSE exams whereas only 70% of Asian pupils were
entered. Whether or not students were entered in for their
exams depended on their teachers assessment of their
ability. Pupils at Jayleigh were set in terms of their ability,
Asian pupils were more likely to be placed in lower sets
even if they had the same teacher assessment as a white
student. To get into the top sets Asian pupils would often
have to get higher marks that white students would. Pupils
then tended to remain in these same sets when they went
into secondary school. As a result of this Asian students
were less likely to be entered for their GCSE's and those
who were took less exams. Similar examples of
systematic discrimination on ethnic grounds has been
founds in other schools.…read more

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Classroom Interaction
Primary Schools
Evidence so far suggests that ethnic minority students
experience discrimination during their school careers.
Cecile Wright's study of classroom interaction 1988/99
was based on a classroom observation in four inner city
primary schools. It found that teachers perceived and
treated ethnic minority children differently from white
children. Asian children were seen as a problem, but as a
problem that could largely be ignored. They received less
attention, were often excluded from classroom discussions
as the teachers felt that they didn't have a sufficient grasp
on the English language to participate and were therefore
rarely asked questions. However they saw Asian pupils as
highly motivated and well-disciplined.
Afro Caribbean children especially boys were expected to
behave badly. They received attention and nearly all of it
was negative. Their behaviour was usually seen as
aggressive, disobedient and disruptive. They were also
often singled out for criticism, even for actions which were
ignored by other pupils. As a result they felt picked on and
treated unfairly.…read more

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Classroom Interaction
Secondary school
David Gillborn 1990 reflects Wrights findings. He spent two
years studying an inner-city comprehensive school gathering
data from classroom observation and interviews with teachers
and students. He found that the vast majority tried to treat all
students fairly. However they perceived students differently and
then on this basis treated them differently. For example they
often saw the behaviour of Afro Caribbean children as a threat
even when none was intended. They were also more likely to
be criticised and punished even when members of other ethnic
groups committed the same behaviour. As a result there was
tension between White teachers and Afro- Caribbean students.
Martin Mac an Ghail 1988 studied a boys comprehensive
school, the school was streamed with boys being demoted to
lower streams if they showed bad behaviour. Many Afro-
Caribbean responded by resistance. They formed an anti-social
peer group, the Rasta heads who rejected many of the schools
norms and values.
Exclusion: A social method of control which schools can use to
deal with pupils they regarded as troublesome. In 2001/02 Afro-
Caribbean pupils had the highest rate of exclusion at 42 per
10,000 which was three times the rate of white students.
According to Jenny Bourne 1994 there is a tendency for even
well meaning white teachers to see "black youth" as
undermining their authority and threatening them personally. A
second explanation is that they are more likely to experience
the frustrations of racism and express them in the classroom.…read more

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Racism In Schools-
In Writght, Gillborn and Mac an Ghail's studies use a research
method called ethnography which involves direct observation of
relatively small groups over long periods of time. Because the
samples are small it is difficult to generalise the results
therefore they cannot apply to all multi-ethnic schools.
However the information gathered by ethnography is unlikely to
come from research methods like questionnaires. For example
in The School Effect the questionnaire to parents revealed little
evidence of racism in schools.. Ethnographic methods often
give a very different picture.
Alternative Views
Peter Foster 1990 conducted an ethnographic study of a
multi0ethnic comprehensive between 1985 and 1987. He found
no evidence of racism. Students from ethnic minorities were not
treated differently from White students, and in fact minority
students achieved better results that white pupils. Foster later
admitted that the school he studied was distinctive, it was
situated in a community with a history of ethnic cooperation.
And at the time the staff were involved in an anti-racist
programme. Therefore Fosters study warns about the
generalisation of results to all multi-ethnic schools.
There is therefore evidence of racism in schools, ethnic minority
pupils tend to be over represented in the lower sets and in the
lower tier for GCSE exams.…read more


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