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The dynamics of school attainment of England’s ethnic minorities

Author

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  • Deborah Wilson

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  • Simon Burgess
  • Adam Briggs

Abstract

We exploit a universe dataset of state school students in England with linked test score records to document the evolution of attainment through school for different ethnic groups. The analysis yields a number of striking findings. First, we show that, controlling for personal characteristics, all minority groups make greater progress than white students over secondary schooling. Second, much of this improvement occurs in the high-stakes exams at the end of compulsory schooling. Third, we show that for most ethnic groups, this gain is pervasive, happening in almost all schools in which these students are found. We address some of the usual factors invoked to explain attainment gaps: poverty, language, school quality, and teacher influence. We conclude that our findings are more consistent with the importance of factors like aspirations and attitudes.
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Suggested Citation

  • Deborah Wilson & Simon Burgess & Adam Briggs, 2011. "The dynamics of school attainment of England’s ethnic minorities," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 24(2), pages 681-700, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:24:y:2011:i:2:p:681-700
    DOI: 10.1007/s00148-009-0269-0
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. D.H. Blackaby & D.G. Leslie & P.D. Murphy, 2002. "White-ethnic minority earnings and employment differentials in Britain: evidence from the LFS," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(2), pages 270-297, April.
    2. Simon Burgess & Adam Briggs & Brendon McConnell & Helen Slater, 2006. "School Choice in England: Background Facts," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 06/159, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    3. Roland G. Fryer & Steven D. Levitt, 2006. "The Black-White Test Score Gap Through Third Grade," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(2), pages 249-281.
    4. repec:lan:wpaper:972 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Roland G. Fryer & Steven D. Levitt, 2004. "Understanding the Black-White Test Score Gap in the First Two Years of School," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 447-464, May.
    6. Steve Bradley & Jim Taylor, 2004. "Ethnicity, educational attainment and the transition from school," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 72(3), pages 317-346, June.
    7. Cook, Michael D & Evans, William N, 2000. "Families or Schools? Explaining the Convergence in White and Black Academic Performance," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(4), pages 729-754, October.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Vignoles Anna F & Powdthavee Nattavudh, 2009. "The Socioeconomic Gap in University Dropouts," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-36, April.
    2. Andreas Georgiadis & Alan Manning, 2011. "Change and continuity among minority communities in Britain," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 24(2), pages 541-568, April.
    3. Sweetman, A. & van Ours, J.C., 2014. "Immigration : What About the Children and Grandchildren?," Discussion Paper 2014-009, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    4. Bhalotra, Sonia & Valente, Christine & van Soest, Arthur, 2010. "The puzzle of Muslim advantage in child survival in India," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 191-204, March.
    5. repec:bri:cmpowp:13/333 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Patacchini, Eleonora & Zenou, Yves, 2006. "The Dynamics of the Racial Test Score Gap During the School Years in Britain," CEPR Discussion Papers 5661, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Meschi, Elena & Swaffield, Joanna K. & Vignoles, Anna, 2011. "The Relative Importance of Local Labour Market Conditions and Pupil Attainment on Post-Compulsory Schooling Decisions," IZA Discussion Papers 6143, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Charles T. Clotfelter & Helen F. Ladd & Jacob L. Vigdor, 2009. "The Academic Achievement Gap in Grades 3 to 8," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(2), pages 398-419, May.
    9. Simon Burgess & Ellen Greaves, 2013. "Test Scores, Subjective Assessment, and Stereotyping of Ethnic Minorities," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(3), pages 535-576.
    10. Anja Prummer & Jan-Peter Siedlarek, 2014. "Institutions and the Preservation of Cultural Traits," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1465, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    11. Simon Burgess, 2014. "Understanding the success of London’s schools," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 14/333, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    12. repec:cep:sticas:/118 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Burgess, Simon & Metcalfe, Robert & Sadoff, Sally, 2016. "Understanding the Response to Financial and Non-Financial Incentives in Education: Field Experimental Evidence Using High-Stakes Assessments," IZA Discussion Papers 10284, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    14. Nicole M. Fortin & Philip Oreopoulos & Shelley Phipps, 2015. "Leaving Boys Behind: Gender Disparities in High Academic Achievement," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(3), pages 549-579.
    15. Kingdon, Geeta & Cassen, Robert, 2007. "Understanding low achievement in English schools," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 6222, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    16. Simon Burgess & Deborah Wilson & Adam Briggs & Anete Piebalga, 2008. "Segregation and the Attainment of Minority Ethnic Pupils in England," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 08/204, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    17. Deborah Wilson & Anete Piebalga, 2008. "Accurate performance measure but meaningless ranking exercise? An analysis of the English school league tables," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 07/176, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    18. Patacchini, Eleonora & Zenou, Yves, 2007. "The Racial Test Score Gap and Parental Involvement in Britain," IZA Discussion Papers 2613, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Ethnic test score gap; School attainment; Education; I20; J15;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination

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