Indian, Chinese students outshine white Britons by age 16

The research suggested that peer pressure may influence how well different groups work at their studies.

The researchers from University College London said the ethnic minority pupils' achievement was an "amazing success story", Daily Mail reported on Wednesday.

Pupils who belong to ethnic minorities struggle to grasp English when they start schooling but they catch up with their white British counterparts and even outperform them as their language skills improve.

"School systems are more efficient if they are more competitive," Harvard University’s Martin West, who co-wrote the study, was quoted as saying.

Black and Asian pupils may benefit from greater attention, says the study that was published in the Economic Journal. Researchers poured over exam results for nearly 500,000 pupils to carry out the study.

The researchers observed that in vocabulary and making patterns tests, at the ages of three and five white British children outshone their ethnic minority counterparts.

When the pupils were seven-years-old, all ethnic minority groups with the exception of Chinese pupils were behind white British youngsters in English and maths tests.

However, by the time compulsory schooling ended, Bangladeshi, Pakistani and black pupils from outside the Caribbean had caught up with their white British classmates, while Indian and Chinese pupils had overtaken them, the media report said.

The improvements in language skills as ethnic minority pupils was a huge reason for closing the gap.

The study said that among Indians, the share of native English speakers was just one in five.

It also came out that ethnic minority parents chose better secondary than primary schools, perhaps because they become more adept at negotiating the school admissions system.

Christian Dustmann, one of the study’s authors and director of the Centre for Research and Analysis on Migration, said: "We don’t really understand the dynamics of peer groups within a school, and how within a school individuals sort into different groups."

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