Posted Monday 27 January 2020
Kingston University has continued its sector-leading work in closing the Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) attainment gap through an externally funded Office for Students project.
The programme, led by Kingston, focused on addressing the attainment gap using two specific interventions – the value added metric and the inclusive curriculum framework – both of which have been used successfully to reduce the attainment gap at the University over the last six years, from 29.5 percentage points to 11.
Kingston partnered with five other universities to roll out the value added score and the inclusive curriculum framework, as well as developing other tailored interventions. It was supported by a £500,000 grant from the Office for Students Catalyst Fund for addressing barriers to student success and match funding from the six institutions involved.
The value added metric highlights the unexplained differences in student attainment by controlling for students' entry qualifications and subject of study. The outcomes clearly demonstrated that value added is both readily transferable and highly effective in generating awareness of the BME attainment gap and productive discussions around it.
The inclusive curriculum framework provides a structured way of exploring the inclusivity of curricula, assessment and teaching at all levels. All the partners used the inclusive curriculum framework but adapted it in different ways to strengthen their existing approaches to inclusivity and embedded that, and value added, in revised monitoring, planning, quality assurance and training approaches to addressing the gap.
Central to Kingston's approach to an inclusive curriculum is the use of specialist student consultants who work directly with academics to impact the curriculum. This includes reviewing modules and online materials, attending conferences and facilitating workshops. All the partners also adopted some form of student involvement in curriculum review.
Even at this early stage, the partners saw a very encouraging improvement in the attainment of their BME students
Two leaders of Kingston's team Owen Beacock and John Tatam presented at the recent Office for Students conference, which was attended by more than 130 delegates from 55 different organisations.
Despite the funded project coming to a close all the universities involved are continuing to work together and share good practice. They all contributed to a special edition of the Greenwich University Compass journal on closing the attainment gap and Kingston has launched a project website for all the institutions to show how they have worked to address the issue.
Pro Vice-Chancellor for Learning and Teaching at Kingston University Professor Trish Reid said, "I am delighted we have been able to demonstrate the successful transfer of the value added metric and inclusive curriculum framework to five other universities of very different backgrounds. We are already seeing clear signs of a positive impact on student attainment and it has been a huge pleasure to work with colleagues across our partners and to share ideas and enthusiasm."
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