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Ethnicity, disadvantage and other variables in the analysis of Birmingham longitudinal school attainment datasets

Ethnicity, disadvantage and other variables in the analysis of Birmingham longitudinal school attainment datasets

Parsons, Carl and Thompson, Trevor ORCID: 0000-0001-9880-782X (2017) Ethnicity, disadvantage and other variables in the analysis of Birmingham longitudinal school attainment datasets. Educational Review, 69 (5). pp. 577-599. ISSN 0013-1911 (Print), 1465-3397 (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/00131911.2017.1281227)

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Abstract

Explaining and responding to inequalities in attainment are significant educational policy challenges in England as elsewhere. Data on four cohorts of Birmingham Local Education Authority (LEA) pupils, each approximately 13,000, were analysed by ethnicity, deprivation, gender and other relevant individual pupil variables. For the four successive cohorts of children, aged five in 1997–2001, analysis shows the attainment trajectory of each ethnic group from Baseline/Foundation Stage Profile (age 5) to GCSE (age 16). The relative constancy over time, the changes from one key stage to the next and the differences within broad ethnic categories argue against simplistic explanations. The ethnicity variable accounts for a relatively small amount of variance in pupil achievement, with the same ethnic subgroups recurrently low attainers. Considering explanatory perspectives on educational inequalities and ethnicity in the light of these data, we conclude that a structuralist perspective offers the best explanation recognising economic exploitation, dominance and oppression at the national and local levels. Notions of institutional racism and Critical Race Theory (CRT) are considered to be inadequate and counter-productive, in part shown by their inability to accommodate the range of attainment levels and educational experience of different ethnic groups. More tellingly, they lack causal explanations relevant to the United Kingdom and deflect attention from the need for sustained effort to reduce poverty and disadvantage as it affects children.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ethnicity; Disadvantage; Gender; Attainment inequalities
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Education & Health
Faculty of Education & Health > Department of Education & Community Studies
Last Modified: 09 May 2019 15:19
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: GREAT a
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: GREAT 2
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/16874

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