Wednesday 14 July 2010

Proportion of private school kids applying to college is about 18%, not 7%.

Dishonest or statistically-incompetent state education propagandists in the UK mass media and 'research' (actually leftist propaganda) outfits such as the egregious Sutton Trust, have relentlessly propagated the factoid that 'only 7 percent' of UK school kids attend private schools.


From this statistic they argue that only 7% of kids at private school implies that only 7% of privately educated kids should be admitted to university, or professions such as medicine or law, or postgraduate degrees - if the admissions system was fair.

And they state that any higher percentages of privately educated people found in a desirable institution implies that the system is unfair and biased in favour of the privately-educated (i.e. this statistic is used as ammunition in typical class warfare rhetoric, designed to create anger, envy and resentment).

However, seven percent is wrong; a deliberately-misleading statistic in relation to university applications.

University applicants come from people aged about 17 and over, so the relevant statistic is the proportion of UK children in the 'sixth form' i.e. those aged approximately 16-19.

The number of little children in private primary schools is irrelevant to university applications.

But the proportion of privately-educated children of university application age is actually 18 percent, not seven percent.



"Pupil Numbers

"Pupils in ISC schools account for around 80% of the total number of pupils in independent schools in the UK. The UK independent sector as a whole educates around 628,000 children in around 2,600 schools. The independent sector educates around 6.5% of the total number of schoolchildren in the UK (and over 7% of the total number of schoolchildren in England) with the figure rising to more than 18% of pupils over the age of 16.

"There are now 511,886 children in ISC schools in the UK and Republic of Ireland. Of these:

* 67,856 are boarders and 444,030 are day pupils
* 261,051 are boys and 250,835 are girls
* 44,792 are nursery age (0-4)
* 158,631 are primary age (5-10)
* 223,178 are senior age (11-15)
* 85,285 are sixth form age (16-19)


So the proportion of privately-educated applicants to universities is about 18 percent, not 7 percent, and this is more than double the media-quoted proportion.

The reason is simple enough - parents are more likely to send their children to private school the older they get. Parents are less concerned with private education at primary level than secondary level - and the more advanced the child the more likely they are to be transferred to a private school - while parents with children at private school will rarely transfer their kids to the state sector except for financial reasons.

Therefore, *if* private school kids were of equal ability to state school kids, then there would be approximately 18 percent of them at top universities if the selection system was unbiased.

But because private schools are selective (to a greater or lesser degree) they have on average better-performing pupils. This means that although there are about 18 percent of university applicants from private schools, a higher proportion than 18 percent would be expected to gain admission to universities; and the proportion would become higher as universities became more selective.

This explains why about one in five private school applicants to the most selective UK universities leads to around one in two or three private school pupils admitted to the most selective universities - on a fair system. The same applies to highly selective professions such as medicine and law.

Of course, the left does *not* want a *fair* university admissions system, but wants one that is government controlled and which is biased in favour of left voters - they want a system of preferences for their supporters.

So they lie about the numbers.

Remember: the proportion of private school educated kids aged 16 plus is about 18%, not 7%.