Ethnic minority pupils have higher hopes of university study than their white peers

4 June 2015

The educational expectations of Indian pupils in England are considerably greater than those of white pupils at age 16, according to new research.

Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Black Caribbean adolescents were also found to have much higher hopes of applying to university, and securing a place, compared to their white peers.

Michael Tzanakis, of the UCL Institute of Education, analysed information gathered on almost 11,000 children, and their mothers, by Next Steps (previously the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England).

“From 14 to 16 years old, expectations increased dramatically in the Indian pupils relative to all other groups, while they remained consistently the lowest among white pupils,” he reveals.

Tzanakis found that Indian pupils at age 16 were six times more likely than white pupils to expect to go to university. Bangladeshi and Pakistani teenagers were three times more likely to have university aspirations, and Black Caribbean pupils were almost three times more likely.

However, the research points out that although ethnicity plays a significant part in forming educational hopes at age 16, pupils’ Key Stage 3 test results at age 14 often help shape expectations too.

“Pupils’ expectations of university study are formed three to four years earlier than the actual application,” he explains. “This suggests that the decision to attend university is the result of a complex process involving the home and school, and future research must uncover these routes of influence.”

Read the full paper:

“Does longitudinal change in adolescent educational expectations for university study vary by ethnic group?”by Michael Tzanakis, is the latest working paper to be published by the UCL IOE’s Centre for Longitudinal Studies.

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