Socio-economic status is known to be one of the most powerful predictors of educational success
Education in Minority Population
Socio-economic status is known to be one of the most powerful predictors of educational success. In inner-city areas characterised by poverty and high unemployment, where African-Caribbeans often live, children from lower income families face exceptional obstacles en route to success, irrespective of the values of their parents (Strand, 170). This research suggests that local communities can provide a `sense of belonging' and opportunities to be successful which can demonstrate to young African-Caribbeans that it are possible for them to succeed.
Despite the DfEE encouraging local education authorities (LEAs) and schools to work together to tackle the problem, the relatively high proportion of African-Caribbean exclusions continues. In addition to featuring highly in exclusion figures, African-Caribbean children have since the 1960s been labelled and identified as underachievers (see Taylor, 43; Tomlinson, 19 for reviews). Research in the 1980s and 1990s reflected the earlier findings, with African-Caribbean pupils continuing to make less progress on average than other pupils (Maughan et al., 115; Drew & Gray, 159; Plewis & Veltman, 24; Gillborn & Gipps, 17; Office for Standards in Education [OfSTED], 1999; Strand, 175). Recent figures show some improvement, from 18% of African-Caribbeans attaining five General Certificates of Secondary Education (GCSE) at grades A*-C in 1989 to 37% in 2000 (DfEE, 2000b).While this is encouraging, it has to be viewed within the context of the overall improvement in performance in GCSE grades A*-C from 30% to 49%. The relative level of underachievement of African-Caribbeans in comparison with other groups remains (DfEE, 2000b).
The data describing the performance of different ethnic minorities are inevitably confounded with other factors which are known to have an impact on achievement in school; for instance, parental education and socio-economic status. In addition, there are important gender differences. At secondary school, African-Caribbean boys seem to be at greater risk of underachievement than girls because of a combination of irregular attendance (Fitzgerald & Finch, 200), low teacher expectations, potential conflict with teachers (Wrench & Hassan, 1996; Gillborn & Gipps, 18) and the high probability of being excluded, as outlined above. Less than 25% of black boys acquire five GCSEs at grade A*-C. They are likely to have GCSEs at grades lower than C or no GCSEs (Pathak, 20). In contrast, African-Caribbea girls do well at school relative to their male and female working-class peers as measured in terms of average examination performance at GCSE level (Mirza, 273; Drew et al., 163), although they may take longer to achieve their long-term educational aspirations. In relation to their respective population sizes, ethnic minority groups...