Closing the attainment gap for students from black and minority ethnic backgrounds through institutional change

Mcduff, Nona, Tatam, John, Beacock, Owen and Ross, Fiona (2018) Closing the attainment gap for students from black and minority ethnic backgrounds through institutional change. Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning, 20(1), pp. 79-101. ISSN (print) 1466-6529

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Abstract

UK universities are achieving some success in attracting increasingly diverse undergraduate cohorts. However, there is compelling evidence that students from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds do much less well in their final degree classifications than their White counterparts, even when entry qualifications are taken into account. This attainment gap has, until recently, not received the attention it deserves. This paper describes how Kingston University has substantially narrowed this gap through an outcome focused institutional change programme. The paper draws upon race theory and describes a multifaceted approach to change that involved: defining the scale of the problem; using a value added metric; engaging the university leadership and academic community; agreeing goals, interventions and outcomes/targets. Over a five year period of collecting data on value added scores on BME attainment, there is evidence of very significant year on year improvement. The paper discusses the challenges of complex change and the initial reluctance of staff to discuss issues around racial disadvantage. It highlights some implications for higher education institutions, especially those in the UK, seeking to close differentials in attainment.

Item Type: Article
Research Area: Education
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education (until 2017)
Services and Administration (until 2017)
Depositing User: Fiona Ross
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2018 14:11
Last Modified: 25 Feb 2018 15:37
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5456/WPLL.20.1.79
URI: http://eprints.kingston.ac.uk/id/eprint/40647

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