Ethnicity and Achievement

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Patterns and Trends

  • Black, Pakistani and Bangladeshi students do worse, Indians and Chinese do best.
  • White students are close the national average (though this may because there is such a high proportion of them) 
  • Among black students girls do better, but among chinese Asians girls do better.
  • Working class black girls do better than working class white girls. 

Out of School Factors 

1. Cultural Factors and Attainment (LF)

a) Language

  • In some Asian households English is not the first language used. The PSI study found that the lack of fluency in English was a significant problem for some groups. Amongst men almost all of them spoke fluent English, however amongst women about a fifth of them did not. 
  • Gillborn and Mirza point out that the very high attainment rate of Indian pupils suggests that language is not a barrier to success. 

b) Family Life

  • Many writers suggest that the nature of family life affects levels of attainment among ethnic minorities. 
  • Driver and Ballard found that South Asian parents tend to have very high educational aspirations for their children, even if they have no education themselves. 
  • Gillborn and Mirza argue that research shows that African-Caribbean pupils receive greater encouragement to…


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