Underperformance of Poor White British Boys

June 2, 2010

The GCSEs are national achievement exams in the U.K. that are similar to the international PISA tests Richard Lynn uses to "calculate" IQ and advance his theories about racial, ethnic and sex differences in intelligence. They're even referenced in one of his sources, but I wonder if he's aware of how badly poor white boys do on them, even compared to nonwhite students from similar disadvantaged, working-class backgrounds.

Here's a chart showing rates of underperformance on GCSE exams by ethnic group and economic status (free school meal eligibility), followed by excerpts from several related articles run by BBC News over the past few years:


Poor white boys struggle in GCSEs

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Poor, white, teenage boys in England have slipped further behind other youngsters in their GCSE exams, reveals a breakdown of this year's results.

The official figures show that fewer than one in five who qualified for free meals achieved the benchmark of five good GCSEs including English and maths.

Twice as many white boys from better-off homes, not eligible for free meals, achieved this level of results.

[...]

Girls are still outperforming boys in achieving the GCSE benchmark — 54.5% to 47.3% — but the gap has narrowed this year by 0.9 of a percentage point.

Black pupils have also improved their GCSE results at a rate that is faster than average — rising to 41.5%.

There has also been a narrowing of the difference between poorer pupils and those who are better off — as defined by eligibility for free school meals.

But this still remains a substantial divide — with 54.4% of pupils not eligible reaching the level of five good GCSEs including maths and English, while only 26.9% of free school meal pupils achieved this.

The results show the intersection of different factors — gender, race, English as a second language and poverty.

But the group of white boys who qualify for free meals is unusual for falling further behind.

The gap between these pupils and their classmates who do not receive free meals has widened from 29.8% to 31.6%.

These results echo findings last month from an analysis of primary school results which found that poor white boys had fallen below almost every other category of pupil.

Link

Poor white boys do worst in tests

Thursday, 19 November 2009

White boys from poorer homes now do worse in primary school tests in England than any other main group, latest figures show.

Only 48% of white British boys eligible for free school meals achieved the expected level in English and maths.

The average for all pupils was 71.8% — and that gap, 23.8 percentage points, was up from 23.1 points last year.

Attainment varied between ethnic groups with Chinese, Irish, Indian and mixed white and Asian children doing best.

[...]

Last year 52.5% of white British boys and girls together had the worst performance, though the girls' attainment was 55.4%.

This year, as a group, white British pupils again did worst.

Again it was the boys' performance that was weaker than the girls'. While 55% of girls achieved the expected level they were outperformed by the next nearest group — Pakistani girls (57.4%).

[...]

There are almost 200,000 white British boys, of whom 31,237 (16%) were from homes poor enough to qualify them for free school meals.

In the past, poor black boys have tended to have the weakest performance.

But this year 51.6% of black boys on free meals made the grade and the gap in their attainment compared with the national average, 20.2, was down from 21.8 in 2008.

Attainment was 49.7% among the weakest group of black boys, those from Caribbean backgrounds.

This left the white British boys on free school meals at the bottom. Even worse for the government is the fact that the attainment gap widened.

This has been a persistent problem for ministers.

Research shows that even children from affluent families who started out in the bottom ability group as toddlers overtake those from the poorest backgrounds who started out in the top ability group, by the time they are six or seven.

LEVEL 4 ENGLISH AND MATHS, FREE SCHOOL MEALS

• All pupils: 53.3%
• White British boys: 48%
• Black Caribbean boys: 49.7%
• Asian boys: 58.7%
• White British girls: 55%
• Pakistani girls: 57.4%

Link

Poor white boys still lag behind

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Five out of six poor white boys in England did not meet the government's target of at least five good GCSEs including English and maths this year.

This compares to 25% of black boys and 32% of Asian boys of similar backgrounds, the new figures show.

Only one group performed worse — Gypsy/Romany pupils on free school meals.

Schools minister Jim Knight said the groups where children were doing well often shared a belief in the "value of family and education".

[...]

Liberal Democrat children's spokesman David Laws said: "Over half of poor Chinese boys achieve the five A*-C standard.

"Urgent questions must be asked about why white boys from similarly deprived backgrounds are falling behind."

Link

White working class boys failing

Thursday, 31 January 2008

Government figures show only 15% of white working class boys in England got five good GCSEs including maths and English last year.

Among white boys from more affluent homes — 45% achieved that level of qualification.

Poorer pupils from Indian and Chinese backgrounds fared much better — with 36% and 52% making that grade respectively.

[...]

"To have 85% of white boys from poor families failing to achieve five good GCSEs including English and maths is truly shocking."

Link

Low attainers 'poor white boys'

Friday, 22 June 2007

Most of the persistent low achievers in England's schools are poor and white, and far more are boys than girls, a Joseph Rowntree Foundation study says.

Chinese and Indian pupils are most successful. Afro-Caribbean pupils do no worse than white British from similar economic backgrounds, results suggest.

[...]

The authors, Robert Cassen and Geeta Kingdon, analysed official data, focusing on four measures of low achievement:

• no passes at all in GCSE/GNVQ exams
• no result better than grade D
• no pass in either English or maths GCSE
• not getting five GCSEs including English and maths at any grade

Prof Cassen also visited schools and colleges and interviewed educationists and council officials.

The chief characteristic of low achievers is that they come from disadvantaged backgrounds.

They are more likely to qualify for free school meals, live in areas of high unemployment, and have single parents who themselves have poor qualifications.

Link

White boys 'trailing at school'

Wednesday, 15 November 2006

Boys from white working-class backgrounds are doing worse at school than black teenagers, according to a Conservative Party report.

The document from the party's social justice policy group says only 17% of white male students gained five or more A*-C grade GCSEs.

That compares with 19% for boys of Caribbean origin, Tories suggest.

[...]

It compared the exam performance of boys in receipt of free school meals from different ethnic backgrounds.

It suggests that social issues, such as a lack of parental support, peer pressure and family breakdown are contributing to white working-class teenagers' poor exam results.

But the report adds that black teenage boys are affected by similar factors, yet are performing marginally better at school.

[...]

"The fact that poor children from Chinese and Indian backgrounds, where family structures are strong and learning is highly valued, outscore so dramatically children from homes where these values are often missing, suggests that culture not ethnicity or cash is the key to educational achievement."

Link

21 comments

Mark said...

Overall, blacks underperform whites on the GSCEs, so I don't think the under-performance of poor whites in itself refutes any theories on race and intelligence. It's not unreasonable to think that there has been more cognitive sorting among the native British population than there has among the black immigrants, since smart white Brits have had generations to climb the socioeconomic ladder... Having said that, it does stand in contrast with the results in the U.S., where the black-white gap persists across the socioeconomic spectrum.

Also, I don't know much about the British educational system, but I wonder if someone could do an analysis as to whether the overall black-white achievement gap is smaller in Great Britain? I know that on some years on the GSCE, black girls as a group have (barely) outperformed white boys as a group, which I don't think has ever happened on standardized tests here in the U.S.

Anonymous said...

"It's not unreasonable to think that there has been more cognitive sorting among the native British population than there has among the black immigrants, since smart white Brits have had generations to climb the socioeconomic ladder... Having said that, it does stand in contrast with the results in the U.S., where the black-white gap persists across the socioeconomic spectrum."

I don't think IQ distributions can be stretched to such a degree. After all, british white IQ norms are widely use in IQ tests, I believe- with the SD of 15 points being a prominent part.

Anonymous said...

GCSE results rely heavily on Teacher marked coursework rather than actual exams. British Teachers are overwhelmingly left wing liberals who worship Ethnic Minorities and despise the White Working Class, the results are unsurprising and reflect liberal prejudice rather than actual ability.

Racial Reality said...

^ We deal with facts and evidence here, not absurd conspiracy theories.

Anonymous said...

That guy, amazingly, didn't blame jews- he's blaming just white liberals.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Jews, why isn't there a category for them in the chart?

Racial Reality said...

Jews are included in the "White other" category.

Anonymous said...

"We deal with facts and evidence here, not absurd conspiracy theories."

Well obviously you don't. GCSEs are NOTHING like the PISA tests and most of them include coursework.

The worst schools rig their league table results by giving easy GCSEs with lots of course work to the stupid kids.

Anonymous said...

That last post seems rude now.

List of GCSE subjects

http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_GCSE_subjects

Food Technology
Desigh & Technology
Graphic Products
etc

Half of it is marked on course work downloaded off the internet.

Racial Reality said...

Please keep your unsupported claims and conspiracy theories to yourself. The GCSEs are standardized exams in the U.K. covering primarily English, Math and Science. And, like PISA scores, GCSE scores have been (mis)used before as proxies for IQ. So the comparison is valid.

chuck said...

It's better to just look at the gaps between the composite groups. Based on the following there is a .3 to .5 SD gap (as compared to the .7 US achievement gap):

Stevens, 2007. Researching Race/Ethnicity and Educational Inequality in English Secondary Schools: A Critical Review of the Research Literature Between 1980 and 2005

Strand, (in press). The White British-Black Caribbean achievement gap: Tests, tiers and teacher expectations.

Strand, 2010. Do some schools narrow the gap? Differential school effectiveness by ethnicity, gender, poverty and prior achievement

This is consistent with a .5 SD Brit Black-White IQ gap. It's interesting because industrial measures of GMA show a much larger gap. (~1.3 SD, Scott and Anderson, 2003. Ethnic and gender differences in GMA test scores: Findings from the UK.)

It's difficult to know what to make of the gap; knowing the IQs of the probands would be informative.

Anonymous said...

It does not seem logical to just label concern about teachers' and society's attitudes toward poor white British boys as "conspiracy theory". At least, by the same logic, claiming that another racial/socioeconomic/ethnocultural group's weaker performance was due to society's attitudes towards them (as seems to me to be commonly claimed in mainstream discourse) would seem to be "conspiracy theory" too. I wonder if Racial Reality thinks in the latter way, too.

Racial Reality said...

No one has provided any evidence of discrimination against poor white boys compared to poor boys of other races. Until then, it's nothing but a crazy conspiracy theory, or at the very least a really lame excuse.

Anonymous said...

>>> No one has provided any evidence of discrimination against poor white boys compared to poor boys of other races. Until then, it's nothing but a crazy conspiracy theory, or at the very least a really lame excuse.

The impression I have gotten is that the evidence of discrimination (in mainstream political discourse) is often taken to be the statistical fact that, on average, some racial/socioeconomic/ethnocultural group is not succeeding on the same level as some other. I do think that it is a pretty lame excuse in many cases, but calling it "crazy conspiracy theory" just because the group doing poorly is poor white British boys seems questionable to me.

Racial Reality said...

>>> evidence of discrimination...is often taken to be the statistical fact that, on average, some racial/socioeconomic/ethnocultural group is not succeeding on the same level as some other

Not by me.

Anonymous said...

"The GCSEs are standardized exams in the U.K. covering primarily English, Math and Science."

No they're not. I gave you a list of all the alternative GCSEs. If you think a "Food technology" GCSE is comparable to an IQ test then you're talking nonsense.

Also it's not a conspiracy against white kids. The gap used to be the other way and there was political pressure to reverse it so they did.

Anonymous said...

google.com GCSE coursework

e.g.

http://coursework-writing.co.uk/

e.g.

http://www.gcse-coursework.com/exams.html

"In some instances, GCSE coursework can contribute up to 60% of your final grade. In others, it can only contribute 20%."

Maths 20%, English 40%, other subjects up to 60% so teachers can manipulate the system if they want to put in the effort.

Obviously they're only likely to put in the effort if they're being pressured to do so.

Black kids were behind and now they're not. Maybe they have moved ahead but GCSEs don't prove it because they're a joke exam. The bright kids take about 15 of them.

Racial Reality said...

The articles quoted in this blog post refer specifically to the exam portion of the GCSEs and to students' performance in English and Math. So all of your bitching about alternative subjects, coursework and teacher "manipulation" is moot. The black-white gap they're talking about isn't based on any of those things.

Anonymous said...

google gcse exams teachers cheating

e.g.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2077036/Teachers-exam-questions-students-advance-sessions-cheating-examiners.html

The UK's GCSE system is a joke.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that African blacks perform better than Caribbean blacks. Could it be because most Caribbean blacks are descended from former slaves, while most African blacks are not? Perhaps blacks who descended from slaves have learned to hate the white man and his educational system while recent immigrants from Africa see education as an important tool for achieving prosperity. Has there ever been a study comparing American blacks to African blacks? I would assume that the African blacks would perform much better.

Racial Reality said...

>>> google gcse exams teachers cheating [...] The UK's GCSE system is a joke.

Cheating occurs everywhere. It has nothing to do with the GCSEs per se. Besides, it was done to improve overall scores, which would benefit all of the students, white as well as black.

It took you one month of Googling to come up with that? You're the joke.