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Manchester tackles failure rate of Asian students

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.310.6974.209 (Published 28 January 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:209

The University of Manchester Medical School admitted last month that male medical students with Asian surnames are more likely to fail their final clinical examinations than other students. Professor Stephen Tomlinson, dean of the school, said that 10 students out of 230 failed in 1994—all were male and had Asian surnames. These students were found to have failed their clinical but not their written exmainations. About a quarter of medical students at Manchester are from ethnic minorities, and most of these are Asian.

“It became clear during the summer of 1994 when these medical students failed that there was a problem,” said Professor Tomlinson. “We immediately set up a study to look at the overall performance of people with Anglo-Saxon names compared with people with names from ethnic minority groups. The numbers are small and it's difficult to separate them out, but our conclusion is that most of the students who failed would have been born in this country, although we don't know …

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