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Approaches to addressing continuation and attainment gaps for Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students at the University of Kent

Quinlan, Kathleen M., Ahn, Mi Young, Adewumi, Barbara, Dowie, Ellen (2021) Approaches to addressing continuation and attainment gaps for Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students at the University of Kent. Transforming Access and Student Outcomes (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:95143)

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Abstract

We evaluated the pilot of the University of Kent’s “Diversity Mark” initiative, a collaboration between the Student Success Team, students, and library services designed to include more BAME perspectives in the formal curriculum, making it more culturally sensitive. The Diversity Mark initiative involves a student-led reading list audit, student focus groups, and debriefs with module convenors. The intervention lead interviewed module convenors following an initial audit and student debrief. If module convenors discussed detailed plans for diversifying reading lists, those modules were deemed reformed. If module convenors did not express commitment to substantial further diversification, those modules were deemed comparators.

Core, first year (level 4) modules in the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research (SSPSSR) were studied. For the implementation and process evaluation (IPE), we compared two reformed modules with two comparison modules. In 2020-21, we also re-audited the reading lists of all 21 of the originally audited modules. The IPE focal modules and the impact evaluation (IE) modules were drawn from this larger pool.

We researched one iteration of each focal module, taught in the same term in 2020-21. Each module was a core (required) module in its degree programme at level 4 worth 15 credits, running over 12 weeks. All had a typical teaching pattern combining lectures and small group seminars, longer reading lists with a variety of sources, and a typical assessment pattern of two to three short, take home written assignments (1000-2500 words) that students completed individually. We also analysed the core reading lists in Moodle of all 21 modules in 2020-21. We used a mixed-methods, quasi-experimental design to compare the reformed modules with the comparator modules, with a particular focus on BAME students’ experiences.

To understand whether the intervention was implemented as planned, we undertook content analyses of curricular materials for the four focal modules. We analysed the authorship of core readings as well as representation of racially minoritised individuals in lecture images, and the cultural sensitivity of assessments. To understand implementation from the students’ perspectives, we conducted focus groups with a subset of BAME students enrolled on the four modules. We surveyed focal module students on their perceptions of the cultural sensitivity of the curriculum. To test the theory of change, we also surveyed students about their interest in the subject, interactions with teachers, and perceptions of their teachers, which we theorised would mediate between perceptions of cultural sensitivity of the curriculum and attainment.

We report on key findings and conclusions and contextualise the findings from the external evaluators' impact evaluation that analysed the impact of diversification of curricula on racial attainment gaps.

Item Type: Research report (external and confidential)
Uncontrolled keywords: racial attainmnent gaps, student success, higher education, curricular diversification, curriculum
Subjects: H Social Sciences
L Education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2361 Curriculum
Divisions: Divisions > Directorate of Education > Centre for the Study of Higher Education
Depositing User: Kathleen Quinlan
Date Deposited: 22 May 2022 09:27 UTC
Last Modified: 22 May 2022 09:27 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/95143 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Quinlan, Kathleen M.: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3606-4148
Adewumi, Barbara: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4134-8233
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