25 Feb 2013

Factors Affecting Educational Attainment - Deprivation & Ethnicity

Weelin Lim

Following on from my recent posts on the latest Key Stage 4 school results, this blog post looks at factors affecting educational achievement for KS4 and also UCAS university application success. The educational attainment I have chosen is the achievement of 5+ A*-C GCSEs including English and Maths, a typical grading used in many school league tables.

There were no data at KS5 available for ethnicity studies, which is why this is not included here.

The two areas I have chosen to look at are Deprivation and Ethnicity by regions in England for the last 5 years.

Deprivation and Region dashboard:

This dashboard shows the educational attainment split by regions in England and deprivation deciles. Each bar in the lower chart represents a region for that deprivation decile. Hovering over any item on the charts will give further information.
It is immediately visible that income deprivation (as defined by the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Indices - IDACI) is a large influencer on the educational attainment. It is also clear that London as a region, outperforms all other regions in England, in every deprivation decile although all regions consistently improve year-on-year.

Ethnic Group and Region dashboard:

This dashboard shows the educational attainment split by regions in England and ethnicity. The upper chart shows achievement grouped by ethnicity. Each bar represents a region for that ethnic group. It can be seen that the disparity in attainment for a particular ethnic group across regions in England has decreased over the last 5 years and all ethnic groups have improved their attainment in that time.

The lower chart shows the same data, grouped by region, so that you can compare attainment by ethnic group within regions. When looking at this level, the London region no longer outperforms all other regions as significantly as when looking at deprivation levels. However, this chart highlights significant differences in attainment between different ethnic groups within the same region, with a 31% difference between two ethnic groups in the West Midlands in 2012. Across the board, this disparity has generally improved over the last 5 years.

Ethnicity KS4 and UCAS dashboard:

This dashboard compares attainment at GCSE and UCAS acceptance rate. You can view the data at Ethnic Group level or a lower Ethnic Detail level. Again, there are distinct trends in attainment level, by ethnic groups, but also within individual ethnic groups. There is a noticeable reduction in the year-on-year improvement across the board for the 2012 results, which may be a result of the re-banding of the C Grade English results that occurred for English GCSE this year.

NOTE: Students undertaking KS4 examinations each year are not the same students that affect the UCAS Acceptance data for that year. It can generally be assumed that KS4 students will affect the UCAS results 2 years after they sit the KS4 exams.

Summary:

The data obtained has shown trends when looking at attainment rates by deprivation and ethnicity across regions. What is uncertain is whether children of certain ethnic backgrounds are more likely to be in certain deprivation bands. It would be interesting to combine deprivation and ethnicity data from the recent census publications and this will be an area that I will look at in the near future.

Data Sources:

Update: If you found this dashboard interesting you should also check out "Levels of deprivation in London – see how it looks in your area" blog post.

Weelin Lim

About the author

Head of Business Intelligence at Concentra. I am a Business Intelligence and Data Warehouse specialist with over 15 years’ experience in a variety of industries. I enjoy visualising freely available Government data and as a parent, I am particularly interested in Education data right now. My blog articles will (hopefully) be a mixture of business and technical experiences, as well as visualisations of interest to the wider public.

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