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ERIC Number: EJ883675
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Mar
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0268-0939
The Colour of Numbers: Surveys, Statistics and Deficit-Thinking about Race and Class
Gillborn, David
Journal of Education Policy, v25 n2 p253-276 Mar 2010
Drawing on the traditions of critical race theory, the paper is presented as a chronicle--a narrative--featuring two invented characters with different histories and expertise. Together they explore the strengths and weaknesses of quantitative approaches to race equality in education. In societies that are structured in racial domination, such as the USA and the UK, quantitative approaches often encode particular assumptions about the nature of social processes and the generation of educational inequality that reflect a generally superficial understanding of racism. Statistical methods can obscure the material reality of racism and the more that statisticians manipulate their data, the more it is likely that majoritarian assumptions will be introduced as part of the fabric of the calculations themselves and the conclusions that are drawn. Focusing on the case of recent national data on the secondary education of minoritized children in England, the paper highlights statisticians' ability to define what counts as a "real" inequality without public challenge or scrutiny; reflects on the dangers of statistical "explanations" in the realm of public debate and policy outcomes; and questions quantitative assumptions about the intersectional relationships between different forms of oppression, including gender, class and race. (Contains 19 notes and 2 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom