Outline and assess the view that processes within school results in differences in educational achievement between ethnic groups

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Outline and assess the view that processes within school results in differences in educational achievement between ethnic groups

The patterns of attainment for ethnicity are complex. It is evident that ethnic minorities perform worse than the white population, but this covers wide variations between groups. In particular, Indian and Chinese students outperform white students, while Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Afro Caribbean students do worse than the white population. Any account of attainment must therefore attempt to explain the differences between ethnic minorities as well as the general patterns.

Rather than focus on the culture of the home, many sociologists have drawn attention to the way in which the school acts against ethnic minority students. Studies like Wright found teacher racism. Teachers held labels of students that meant that they believed Asian students would have a poor grasp of English and left them out in group discussions or spoke to them in simple terms. This meant that other ethnic minorities got more help from the teacher so straight away they have a clear advantage. Also, Gillborn and Youdell argue that teacher’s racist assumptions led them to believe that Afro Caribbean students would cause trouble and that teachers would see the behaviour of these students challenging. Teachers would confront their behaviour which would cause problems. Therefore they were labelled by teachers as students who didn’t want to do well. This leads to the self-fulfilling prophecy and accounts for why Afro-Caribbean’s underachieve.

In a report in 2007, channel four use the Freedom of Information Act to uncover the extent of racist attacks in schools. It found that over 100,000 incidents had been documented and that there had been a significant increase recently. Mirza argued that this clearly indicated that there was a significant problem within schools and that the figures were an underestimation of the problem. Pupils who are subjected to a barrage of bullying are likely to underperform in their education which results in differences in education between ethnic groups.

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Furthermore, Strand argued in a talk to the British educational research association that schools were institutionally racist. He found that teachers were less likely to enter Afro-Caribbean students for higher tier testes at 14 in science and maths; this had a knock on effect which GCSE they were entered for. This was because teachers developed stereotypes that afro Caribbean students were disruptive and made inaccurate judgements about their ability. This affects how ethnic minorities perform as how predictions teachers make about students are the actual outcome. This echoes the findings of a study conducted by the CRE which found that ...

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