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Assess whether those from ethnic minorities achieve less in education than those from other ethnic groups

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Introduction

* Assess the view from a sociological perspective that ethnic minorities tend to perform less well in education than other ethnic groups Broadly speaking, research has shown that ethnic minorities tend to do less well than other members of the population. However there are some important variations between and within ethnic groups. Some research has shown that some ethnic minorities are particularly successful. In a study by Mahood 1997, evidence showed that in 1994, the educational qualifications of ethnic minorities had improved considerably. In a study of 5,196 Caribbean and Asians and 2,867 whites, Chinese, African Asians and Indians were better qualified than whites. This supports the Swann report 1985, which found in a survey of five LEA's that Asians did almost as well as whites. Based on data from the government sponsored Youth Cohort Study of 16-19 year olds from 1989 to 1999, it was found that the proportion gaining five or more GCSE's at grade C or above has risen form 32.8% to 47.9% and has risen for each ethnic group. In the 18 year old Youth Cohort Study, the evidence showed that the gap was narrowing in terms of achievement between whites and ethnic minorities. Further findings included that in 2002, Black and Indian ethnic groups were more likely to achieve A/AS levels than whites, and in general, all ethnic minorities were more likely to be in full time education than whites. ...read more.

Middle

Women are treated very differently to men within these two origins and this may therefore be a reason for their under achievement. This suggests that gender and also religion are important factors for different educational achievement within different ethnic groups. There have been many suggestions as to why different ethnic groups produce different levels of achievement. Some commentators have attributed differences in levels of achievement between whites and blacks to genetically inherited levels of intelligence. Hernstein and Murray 1994 tentatively suggest genetic rather than environmental factors when looking at levels of achievement. However, this idea has been strongly opposed and Pilkington 1997 in particular dismisses the idea of a genetic basis for IQ differences between ethnic groups because race as a biologically meaningful concept is questionable. Bodmer 1972, instead points to over 200 years of prejudice and discrimination preventing an equalisation of environment. When considering cultural and material factors, despite Drivers and Rogers 1981 suggesting that language speaking competence was not a factor in levels of achievement, Mahood found that the lack fluency of the English language was a problem for some groups, especially the older age groups. He also found that amongst the low achieving Pakistani and Bangladeshi women, 16% Pakistani and 20% Bangladeshi were not fluent English speakers. ...read more.

Conclusion

They had difficulty obtaining male status, although teachers had high hopes of their academic work. South Asian girls were viewed as being even more obedient and hard working despite showing the same types of mixed behaviour as their other female peers. Teachers tended to spend more time with these girls as their hopes for them high. This highlights the importance of gender combined with race, not just one or the other, when looking at the differences in educational achievement. However it must also be acknowledged that not all pupils passively accept label's given to them and it can therefore be argued that racism is not as influential in educational achievement as some consider it to be. It is clear from numerous sources of evidence that the educational achievement of different ethnic groups is very mixed. Although some studies indicate an improvement in the performance within certain ethnic minorities and even indicate that some ethnic minorities perform better than whites and other ethnic groups, there are still some which prove be behind in their achievements. However, this fact cannot be generalised as being due to one particular factor. As evidence has shown, many factors such as ethnicity, social status and gender all combine to affect the achievement of individuals within all ethnic groups and not just one factor is completely responsible for the differences and inequalities within different ethnic groups. ...read more.

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