Friday, February 16, 2007

NOT JUST ONLY, BUT ALSO

"CHINESE PUPILS ECLIPSE ALL OTHER ETHNIC GROUPS IN ENGLISH TESTS

Chinese pupils are best-performing ethnic group with 86% passing national curriculum tests

Schoolchildren of Indian origin come second with 85% achieving the same standard

But only 80% of white British pupils manage to reach a similar level in the assessment"

The Independent.

Well, strap me to a tree and call me Brenda. Again.

Somewhat on a par with the revelations that the Earth isn't in fact flat and that water has been found to be jolly well wet and, if one isn't awfully careful, has the capacity to shrink little Johnny's undergarments.

The fact that Asians out-perform whites in just about any kind of test of academic achievement and intelligence has been abundantly clear ever since such testing was introduced and I suppose I would be relieved to see the fact acknowledged on a front page were it not for the absolute failure on the part of the Education Editor to entirely throw off his PC conceptions and at least consider the role genetics may or may not play in intellectual ability.

His choice of lexis in the heading rather gives it away. The 'but', the 'only' and the 'manage' indicate to me his belief that something should and indeed can be done about it.

The zeitgeist insists we look for a failure whether it be the schools themselves or, as suggested by the main body of the article, parental attitudes and culture. He states that "Parents in families of Chinese origin stress the value of homework", a quite meaningless statement when one considers it as he entirely fails to place it in any comparative context whatsoever and we are left to infer that it is somehow the fault of white parents for undervaluing time spent studying. Indian parents however, obviously need just to give that little extra one per-cent.

The fact that this rather flies in the face of a recent government sponsored study showing that the amount of homework and greater academic ability increase in indirect proportion in that the more homework you get, the less effective it is, is conveniently ignored.

And I know I'm on dangerous ground yet will go there nevertheless, but isn't there a bit of unconscious racism at work here? An idea that the Chinese and Indians can't be better than us, surely. It's the schools. The parents. The tests are skewed. Anything but consider the possibility that they just might be genetically predisposed to outperform us. That bloody PC insistence that we are all the same and 'equal but different' can take a powder.

He also states that girls consistently out-perform boys...another zeitgeist phenomenon that seems to insist that all things female are to be promoted over all things male and much to be preferred but I'll skip that...without actually delving too much into the details.

As an average, mean or whatever you want to call it, what he says is no doubt true but, if the results of these tests follow those of many, many others particularly in mathematics and the sciences, both the extreme percentiles, the very high and the very low, will be dominated by males. To an overwhelming extent. But, seeing as this contradicts the propoganda that a glass ceiling does in fact exist and is the only reason females are under-represented in research fellowships and the like, this too will be conveniently ignored.

Still, I guess it's a start. But I fear that it will be used as a stick with which yet again to browbeat the government into taking measures to do something about that over which they really have no control.

Apart from massaging the figures, that is.

1 comment:

Roger B. said...

A while ago I took part in an on-line geography quiz.

The results were ranked according to the country of origin of the participants. Syria was at the top of the league table, with the UK languishing in the lower reaches (but well above the USA).

I can't decide whether that proves:

a) Syrians have an innate ability for geography;

b) Syrian schools provide a higher standard of geographical education than the UK and the USA;

c) the test was devised by the Syrian government to make the rest of the world look dumb.