The Achievement Gap

The Attainment Gap. * Yawn* another elitist term, which will have to be explained to people not familiar with equality problems facing academia. Lets first start of by just saying the attainment gap actually means the achievement gap. In UK universities there is a disparities between what African, Caribbean, Asian and Arab (ACAA) students grades and that of their white counterparts. The last national study in 2012 found 69.5% of white students achieved a first or 2:1 compared to 51.1% of ACAA. 18.4% is a worrying difference when ACCA students only make up the minority of the student population. The Race for Equality Report by NUS observed the experiences the faced my ACCA students and gave a list of recommendations to boost achievement and retention of minority students.

  • Increase Diversity of Staff
  • Promote Social Inclusion
  • Challenge Racism and Promote Equality

Although universities may agree there is a problem, there is a denial of race being the biggest contributing factor to the lack of achievement. University of the Arts London where the achievement gap is slightly higher than national average have even done cross studies to include the varying different intersections, socio-economics, class gender etc. Regardless of the differences, race still had an impact on grades. I feel uncomfortable, when staff refuses to believe statistical data or try to link other factors to the problem. I am sure if I went round universities handing out the “peculiarities of a negro brain” written by Robert Bennett Bean I would be silenced ushered out which would be of course rightly so. These studies disturbingly analysed the brains of a black people compared to white people with the writer then concluding the brain of the white man was superior. These studies from 1906 added flame to the brightly burning white supremacy fire which smoke was already suffocating all non-whites. When ACAA students are lagging behind white students and university leaders are dismissing university campuses as an institution, which recreate whiteness as the normal default, they are unknowingly complicity agreeing with Bean. They are silently screaming Black students are not good enough. We of course know this is not true. ACCA students have left college/sixth form with the same A-level grades as white students so we can be sure the ability to achieve high grades is possible.

Dr Coleman recently proposed a philosophy course at University College London, which was to challenge the whiteness, which exist in courses and campuses. He was subsequently sacked with the university stating they were not ready to offer a course in this area. Laughable. Universities will pay lip services to wanting changing, creating an environment which takes a number of points of views into account. When faced with the prospect for radical change, radical freedom from the shackles of whiteness, which exists in education no one, is ready implement these radical thought-provoking changes. Instead there is a liberal approach to change. Of course it is needed but more change, radical change is needed quickly.

Bee Tajudeen

Content Developer at Shades of Noir