Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 681–700 | Cite as

The dynamics of school attainment of England’s ethnic minorities

  • Deborah WilsonEmail author
  • Simon Burgess
  • Adam Briggs
Original Paper


We exploit a universe dataset of state school students in England with linked test score records to document the evolution of attainment through school for different ethnic groups. The analysis yields a number of striking findings. First, we show that, controlling for personal characteristics, all minority groups make greater progress than White students over secondary schooling. Second, much of this improvement occurs in the high-stakes exams at the end of compulsory schooling. Third, we show that for most ethnic groups, this gain is pervasive, happening in almost all schools in which these students are found.


Ethnic test score gap School attainment Education 

JEL Classification

I20 J15 



Thanks to the Leverhulme Trust for funding this research through CMPO. Thanks also for comments to Howard Glennerster, Paul Gregg, Carol Propper, Leon Tikly and three anonymous referees. All errors are the responsibility of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CMPOUniversity of BristolBristolUK

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