This article notes some characteristics of ethnic minority groups in Britain, notably those originating from the Indian subcontinent and the Caribbean, reviews some issues and research relating to the educational performance and attainments of minority pupils, and focuses on a longitudinal study of 20 multiethnic schools carried out during the 1980s. This study suggested that the school a child attends makes more difference to performance and attainment than ethnicity. The article concludes with a consideration of the likely effects of the 1988 Education Reform Act on the education of racial and ethnic minority children. ETHNICITY, EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT, ENGLAND In the 1990s and beyond, the distribution of life chances in urban technological societies will depend more than ever before on credentials obtained in education systems. Schools will act increasingly as selection agencies-determining the kind and amount of knowledge and skills children are offered, assessing and recording the levels of acquisition of knowledge and rationing out the qualifications that allow entry to higher education and superior forms of training and employment. In democratic societies committed to offering equality of access to good state education and the opportunity for all pupils to acquire qualifications, it has become more important than ever to ensure that racial and ethnic minorities do have access to schools that are effective and will provide them with appropriate qualifications. In Britain, the educational achievements and performance of ethnic minority children and young people have attracted an unprecedented amount of research over the past thirty years, but despite the volumes of evidence it is still hard to draw firm conclusions. The results of research have been used to fuel political debates, with input from both left and right, about the intellectual capabilities and educational achievements of different minority groups, their likely socioeconomic destination, and the amount and nature of racism in the education system. A variety of explanations has been offered by researchers attempting to discover causal factors behind differential levels of achievement between majority and minority pupils, and between different groups of minority pupils. The explanations have often been guesswork, prejudice, or attempts to support particular theories, and

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