Student Attainment Project

Background on the Project

The higher education sector as a whole experiences degree-awarding gaps (sometimes referred to as an ‘attainment gap’) for distinct groups of students. A degree-awarding gap means that a comparison between two groups of students (e.g. White students and Black students) would show that one group consistently receives an unexplained higher degree award at the end of their studies.

City has an unexplained degree-awarding gap of 11% as experienced by students from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds when compared to the degrees awarded to White students.

Project aims and outputs

The Student Attainment Project is intended to enable City, working collaboratively with our students and academic staff, to understand and address this gap, ensuring more equitable outcomes for all of our students.

The specific aims and objectives of the project are as follows:

  • To identify, interrogate and understand degree-awarding gaps experienced by distinct groups of students at City;
  • To understand internal and external context, drivers and best practice in order to ensure that City takes the most informed approach to addressing its degree-awarding gaps;
  • To actively partner with students, academic colleagues and School leadership teams to create evidence-informed approaches to tackling degree-awarding gaps which work best for City;
  • To robustly evaluate City’s approaches to addressing and tackling its degree-awarding gaps and continually seek to improve work in this area.

The project is delivered by the Student Attainment Working Group, which reports into the City Learning and Teaching Committee and the Race Equality Charter Self-Assessment Team. The project is sponsored by Professor Susannah Quinsee, Director of Learning Enhancement and Development at City. The Student Attainment Working Group includes staff and student representation from City Students’ Union, as well as representation from academic and professional staff across City.

The three key outputs of the project so far have been:

  • Inclusive Curriculum Development Framework: The Framework is designed to support Programme Directors and academic staff to create inclusive learning, teaching and assessment practices which empower all students to engage fully with their educational experience. It was developed based on research carried out by staff in Learning Enhancement and Development and launched to staff in July 2020 and This will be evaluated during the 2020/21 academic year and will include opportunities for you to feedback and input in this evaluation process.
  • Student Data Sharepoint: To help identify programmes with the most significant degree-awarding gaps in each School, and where the greatest amount of work needs to be undertaken to ensure equitable outcomes, a  repository of anonymised data on degrees awarded to students, analysed by different ethnic groups, has been created.  This covers all degrees awarded between 2014/15 and 2018/19 across all programmes at City. . The data on this Sharepoint has only been made available to staff directly involved in educational planning and review.
  • Decolonising the Curriculum: Work is underway to understand existing efforts across the University by individual academics to decolonise their curricula and create more inclusive learning and teaching environments. Student researchers have been commissioned to produce reports on Decolonising the Curriculum within different educational contexts, and interested academics and staff from across the University are being invited to join an informal network of practitioners.

How you can get involved

If you would like more information on the work of the Student Attainment Project, or would like to get involved in this work, please contact the Student EDI team who are responsible for managing this project.