The BME attainment gap has been a long-standing concern across the whole higher education sector. However, following a recommendation by the Vice-Chancellor and, with the endorsement of the University's Board of Governors on 4 March 2015, Kingston University will now play a key role in addressing this important national issue.
The University has introduced a range of initiatives that aim to ensure students from BME backgrounds get the very most out of their time at university, achieve their full potential, and improve their results and employability prospects.
Kingston's approach to reducing the attainment gap
Why take action?
This positive action is based on a several key factors:
- Across the UK, data shows that BME students are less likely to achieve their potential when compared to white students, even where entry qualifications and subjects studied are identical.
- The University has a majority of BME students and wants to ensure all students realise their full potential. Degree outcomes are a major determinant of employability and acceptance on programmes of further study.
- There is a need to address a complex range of influences. Some factors relate to the way a Higher Education institution behaves, such as ensuring there is a climate which is welcoming to all students and a curriculum which is relevant to all students. Other factors relate to students' circumstances (e.g. many live at home, have caring responsibilities, and need to work to support themselves) which distracts from their ability to learn and study. However, it is important to note that statistical analysis shows that even when standardising for all variables, ethnicity remains the major determinant of the attainment gap.
What are we doing?
As a result the University has now adopted:
- The reduction of the BME attainment gap as an institutional KPI.
- A Value Added score system as used in the Guardian league tables, as the key metric.
- An Achievement Plan containing key initiatives that improve institutional evaluation processes, increase the knowledge and skills of staff, and raise student success.
The institutional KPI
To raise the BME Value Added score to 1.0 by the end of the 2018/19 academic year.