first_imgFigures published by Oxford University have shown that black and ethnic minority students are underachieving in Finals.In addition to demonstrating a continuation of Oxford’s age old gender gap, the 2008 breakdown reveals new and worrying patterns of underachievement related to both race and disability. According to the data, fewer black and minority ethnic (BME) students are reaching top grades. In 2008 only 84% of BME students achieved a first or upper second, compared to 93% of white candidates. Likewise, 29% of white students achieved a first, whilst only 9% of black students attained the highest classification.This is the first time that the University has published a breakdown of the results for Final Honour Schools (Finals) which analyses not only the correlation between gender and achievement, but also examines the attainment of black, ethnic minority and disabled students.The University maintains that this disparity in achievement is under annual review and emphasises that the gap is not as pronounced as that found nationally. Such comparisons with national statistics are hindered by the very small number of BME students studying at Oxford. Black and minority ethnic students constituted only 15.3% of the total Finals population for 2008, a figure which has prompted criticism of Oxford’s admissions process.Commenting on the data, Matthew Tye, OUSU Officer for BME Students, stated: “Statistics never reveal a complete picture”, adding “the number of students from black and ethnic minority backgrounds is proportionally small at Oxford, but there are numerous campaigns and college schemes which have been and are doing important outreach work”.Speaking specifically about the divergence in degree attainment, Tye stated “levels of academic support are exceptionally high at Oxford.” The National Student Survey (NSS) however, indicates that whilst 93% of Oxford’s white students agreed to being satisfied with their course, this was true for only 75% of black students and 88% of Asian undergraduates.The University breakdown suggests that disabled students also fare badly. Less likely to achieve top grades than those with no known disability, 19% of disabled candidates graduated with a first, compared to 28% of non-disabled students.However, Danielle Solomon, OUSU’s Officer for Students with Disabilities, highlighted the data’s simplified categorisation of candidates as ‘disabled’ or ‘no known disability’ and pointed out the small number of disabled students taking Finals. “Students with disabilities do not all fall under one umbrella, therefore expecting to find a single reason for the academic performances of students with SPLlast_img read more