Disparities in Student Attainment (DiSA) Project

This is a joint study between the University of Wolverhampton and Coventry University which will explore the gap between the attainment of black minority ethnic (BME) and white students across the two universities.

Project Dissemination

  • (NEW) Perspectives on Pedagogy, Assessment, and Feedback: An Interdisciplinary Seminar - Coventry University, 9th April 2013. Visit the Seminar website.
  • Briefing papers
    The briefing papers for the DiSA proect are now published and available from the project dissemination section of the website.

DiSA Conference

Touching Hearts and Minds : Tackling Disparities in Student Attainment - 18th June 2012

This one day conference, explored the findings of the DiSA project and looked at the gap between the attainment of black minority ethnic (BME) and white students across Coventry and Wolverhampton Universites. The presentations, videos and posters from the day are now available on the DiSA Conference website.

Project overview

The project will examine modules where attainment by BME students is high in order to identify characteristics of success. It will also look at subject modules with an ethnically mixed group of students. Changes to teaching and learning methods will be trialled by module leaders, students and other colleagues. Attainment variation within and across the modules will then be analysed, taking into account gender, entry qualifications and internal ethnic variation within BME groups.

This exploration centres on two key recommendations in a report produced by the Equality Challenge Unit and Higher Education Academy (2008). 

One of these recommendations calls for systematic institutional research to inform curriculum design and the other calls for this design to involve students and teachers. Thus the project will gather and analyse institutional and student experience data to inform action research initiatives.  Module leaders, students, education developers and Subject Network colleagues will formulate changes to raise attainment in ethnically mixed module populations.  These changes will be trialled through twelve action research iterations. Analysis of effects will concern attainment variation within and across module populations and be mindful of gender, entry qualifications and internal ethnic variation within BME groups.  It is anticipated that discovering ways of closing the attainment gap will benefit all students to reach their highest potential. 

Key outputs 

  • identification of characteristics of successful attainment
  • subject and generic inclusive curriculum design principles
  • an ethically defensible framework for exploiting institutional data
  • BME student experience case studies
  • resource rich web pages.

This project was awarded National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTFS) funding in 2010.