Students Don’t Know Shakespeare?

Ripe Good Scholar

I came across a news article today that said a recent study found that one-third of British students didn’t know who Shakespeare was. I was immediately incredulous because frankly most journalists are terrible at covering scientific studies, so I decided to give it a closer read.

Basically, the study gave 1,000 students aged 11 to 18 a list of thirteen names and asked them to identify the playwrights. One in three students was unable to identify Shakespeare as a playwright. That percentage increased to one half when only looking at the grammar school students.

Before getting into why I still find these statistics concerning, I want to address my concerns over the nature of the study:

First of all, the sample size is far too small to make such sweeping judgments. These 1,000 students cannot with any certainty represent the entire school population of Britain. With a sample size that…

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