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Equality of Outcome: why?

(77 Posts)
mmzz Sun 08-Oct-17 05:57:41

I genuinely don't understand why anyone would believe that equality of outcome is what schools should be optimising on. To me, the fair thing is equality of opportunity.
Please can some tell me why equality of outcome is fairer or better in any way, even economically for the country?
Who does it help? Who does it hinder? Is that fair or good?

Chestnut24 Sun 08-Oct-17 06:45:55

I don't think schools are optimising (?) the equality of outcome.. the aim is generally to support all students to make as much progress as they can.

I may have misunderstood your point however as the language you use to describe education is unfamiliar to me in this context. Are you in the UK? Are you a teacher?

mmzz Sun 08-Oct-17 11:54:25

I'm in the UK and only a parent with children at secondary school.
This is really a thread about some posts on other threads about whether it's right to focus attention on the less able at the expense of the less able. Some posters SA it is in the interests of equality of outcome, which sometimes they go on to say is the comprehensive ideal.
As you might guess, I don't think it is, but I don't want to detail the other threads, so I thought I'd start my own and ask how that view is justified? Obviously, it strikes some people (certain teachers included) as fundamental right, but I can't think of a single reason why it is right.

So that's what I am asking - I'm not trying for an argument. I just want to understand the thought process that lead to this alternative view.

mmzz Sun 08-Oct-17 11:58:02

That should say: focus attention on the less able at the expense of the more able.

Chestnut24 Sun 08-Oct-17 13:20:56

Oh I see! Well as a uk secondary teacher I can say that from my POV (been teaching 11 years, 4 different schools) the aim is always to help each child make the best progress they can in from K22 to KS4. Hope that helps smile

JoJoSM2 Sun 08-Oct-17 13:24:07

I understand ‘equality of outcome’ as making sure everyone achieves their own full potential. Low ability students do need more help than able children. However, that doesn’t mean the able ones should be neglected- just acknowledging that they pick things up more quickly and are much better at working independently.

unlimiteddilutingjuice Sun 08-Oct-17 13:27:42

I think I might have mentioned equality of outcome. I meant equality of outcome across social classes. Not between individual children.

mmzz Sun 08-Oct-17 13:38:55

across social classes makes sense. I took it to mean - in context - as across ability groupings. The academic equivalent of making a young Monet practice drawing straight lines until everyone can do it to the same level.

relaxitllbeok Sun 08-Oct-17 14:40:52

mm, absolutely fine, provided ability is distributed equally across social classes...

cloudleopard Sun 08-Oct-17 14:46:59

Some children need more support for a variety of reasons, it's not about limiting anyone's chances, it's about giving everyone a chance.

Mmzz Sun 08-Oct-17 17:32:37

The problem of course is that without control of the education of all social sectors, you can't equalise either opportunity or outcomes.
I don't know many truly wealthy people who would send their children to a state school, unless it was an exceptional state school (and even then it would only be a proportion of the wealthier people I know). Some will always privately educate, irrespective of how good the state sector becomes.
However, if you were to equalise the state sector such that schools like the ones that need to employ social workers were averaging the same quality of education as the most over subscribed state schools, then you'd be bringing the quality of the over subscribed schools down, and that would enduce even more parents to try to find a way to access private, selective education for their DC.
My DC attend a state comprehensive btw, but I have many friends and acquaintances who don't. Some did and then thought better of it and moved. Some can easily afford the private school fees, others struggle. However the bottom line is a lot of them avoid the state sector and those who espouse equality can't touch their DCs.

Mmzz Sun 08-Oct-17 17:34:13

Apologies for the lack of paragraphs. The android app send to delete them when I try to post.

Fresh8008 Sun 08-Oct-17 19:08:22

Read the thread title and knew someone would have posted that picture of a short child needing boxes to see over the fence. What a crock of shit.

We do not need all children to just reach the same level. We need some children to reach much higher levels. And what happens to the short child when they leave school, realize they have not been taught to cope with being short and in the world of work is not given boxes
allowances for their lack of height ability.

Equality of Outcome means all three of them staring at the fence.

All children should be stretched to their potential equally, as much as resources allow.

I would definitely take my child out of a school that only allowed a class to progress at the pace of the least bright child.

unlimiteddilutingjuice Sun 08-Oct-17 19:14:10

"mm, absolutely fine, provided ability is distributed equally across social classes"

I believe that inherent ability is distributed equally. There is currently an attainment gap and I think closing this should be a goal of society.

mmzz Sun 08-Oct-17 21:57:20

It certainly was as we emerged from the second works war. Universities were fill in the 1980s of people who were "the first if their family to go to university". Then those children grew up to be the new middle classes. Their peers had to same chances, but for whatever reason became secretaries and builders instead. Now it's their children, and it they breed early, grandchildren who will have the chance to make the first in the family claim.
It's much easier make thatclaim now though ever since the threshold was lowered from top7%to top half.

RJnomore1 Sun 08-Oct-17 22:09:28

The outcome issue is because children from poorer backgrounds have poorer outcomes.

The issue is simple.

The solution is complex.

Mmzz Sun 08-Oct-17 22:21:27

The same was true in the 1980s. But a good percentage made it to uni anyway. And another tranche made it to the institutions that became universities.

JoJoSM2 Mon 09-Oct-17 08:31:28

Mmzz, quite the opposite in my experience. A lot of teens I meet won’t be going to uni due to the cost. In families with well educated parents and grandparents, children going to uni are a bit of a ‘non-brainer’ and a given. In families, where they could be the first one to go, there just isn’t that family motivation and it’s made worse by the high tuition fees which put people off further. It’s all reflected in national statistics as well. And indie school children are way over-represented at Russell Group Unis. Oxford and Cambridge have got programmes to attract students from disadvantaged backgrounds but they are significantly underrepresented there anyway.

Mmzz Mon 09-Oct-17 08:59:50

The lack of grants and the tuition fees are enough to make anyone take a serious sharp intake of breath! I find it amazing that nigh on 50% go to university despite the financial concerns. If my DC were unlikely to get a really good job out of their hoped for degrees, then I'd be heavily urging them to avoid higher education altogether.
I really can't understand why those that are not defined to get employable degrees, and who don't just have a passion for the subject, even bother going to uni. But they do, and in large numbers.

Mmzz Mon 09-Oct-17 09:00:49

That should be "destined", not defined!

LadyinCement Mon 09-Oct-17 13:51:09

I posted on the other thread questioning this "equality of outcome" stuff. I always thought the idea was "equality of opportunity", which is very possibly achievable, but outcome? No way.

We are not all carbon copies of one another. We all have different abilities, weaknesses, interests. Some people are naturally able mathematicians, others take to languages. Is anyone really saying that anyone - yes, anyone can get to Oxbridge? The only way of doing this would be to stall the "cleverer" children, or to have some kind of lottery system for all universities and jobs.

The mind boggles at the kind of society where anyone gets a chance, no matter what their academic ability. And what about sport? It's not very fair that most of us don't stand a chance of being in the national football team or running the 100m in the Olympics. If you gave me a bit of a head start (like 1mm before the finishing line) I could so beat Usain Bolt.

Eolian Mon 09-Oct-17 14:01:38

Equality of outcome is impossible and it's not what schools do. For various reasons, some pupils need more help and intervention than others to achieve the results of which they are capable. But even with additional help, that doesn't mean that all pupils are capable of the same results.

I agree that the targets for how many people should attend university are ridiculously high. Strapping tuition fees and reducing university intake would be better, fairer and more practical.

JoJoSM2 Mon 09-Oct-17 15:31:08


Equal chance of achieving their potential NOT of achieving the same result. Simple example would be students going onto Oxbridge or Russell Group universities. It's still considerably skewed towards the privately-educated even though going by exam results, if you take top 50 or 100 state schools, their actual attainment is actually higher than the indy equivalent. It clearly shows that the ability is there (everyone takes the same exams) and yet there's no equality of outcome at all.

dadap Mon 09-Oct-17 21:20:42

Mmzz - the question why children ^*who don't have a ho*^pe ^*in securing a degree worth the expensie*^" I think far more people go to uni now because jobs which can be done by someone with gcse have been inflated to require a degree - in My son's case - at GCSE stage he would have been competing for jobs with those with Alevels at a level he is competing with those with degrees - at degree level which although it is not a good grade - it is from a reasonable university in a good subject (business and economics) so he gets interviews quite easily. Without the degree he wouldn't have got a look in - in any office job. It is almost as if you have to apply for something a step below your capabilities where as in my youth every jobs I applied for was a step ahead .

CaretakerToNuns Mon 09-Oct-17 21:44:09

The main aim of the education system should be to ensure that all pupils reach the minimum standard required to be able to go out into the real world and get a job.

And yes, those pupils of a lower ability should be receiving more attention than those of a higher ability - the more gifted children are intelligent enough to work by themselves.

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