25 October 2007

Nose size affects academic outcomes

Urgent policy action needed to help nasally challenged children

Children with big noses perform significantly worse in exams than those with average-sized ones, even up to GCSE level, according to new research published today by ISP (the Institute for Socialist Propaganda). Policy changes are needed if this unfair disadvantage is not to damage the chances of nasally challenged children.

New work by researchers at ISP draws on data covering the state school population in England, and shows dramatic differences between the proportions of nasally-challenged (NC) and nasally-normal (NN) children reaching expected attainment levels.

The data of the research shows that, while the attainment gap between NN and NC children decreases over time, worryingly it still persists at age 16, when pupils are sitting their GCSEs. While 61 per cent of NN girls (50 per cent of NN boys) achieve at least 5 A*-C grades at GCSE — the expected level — only 55 per cent of NC girls (44 per cent of NC boys) do the same. This means that access to further and higher education, and hence future success in the labour market, is likely to be significantly affected by the size of your nose.

To put these differences into perspective: at age 11, the attainment gap between NC and NN students (of around 14 percent) is only slightly less than the (marvellous) average improvement in results since Labour came to power in 1997 (around 17 percent).

Janette Smyth, one of the authors of the report, said “This report highlights the penalty that nasally-challenged children face, simply because they are unlucky enough to have been born with a big hooter. This cannot be acceptable on either equity or efficiency grounds, and urgent steps must be taken to eliminate this inequity.”

Asked whether it mattered that boys do significantly worse than girls, to the extent that the performance of nasally normal boys is well below that of nasally challenged girls, Ms Smyth replied: "Not really. That disadvantage is socially just, since it corrects for the male oppression of women over the last few millennia."