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New £190,000 study into attainment levels


The joint study with Coventry University will explore the gap between Black minority ethnic (BME) and white students across the two universities.

The universities successfully bid for funding for the project from the Higher Education Academy (HEA).

Professor Glynis Cousin, Director of the Institute for Learning Enhancement, will lead the research at Wolverhampton with Dr Gurnam Singh heading up the project at Coventry.

Professor Cousin said: “We are delighted to have received funding to carry out research in this important area. It is anticipated that discovering ways of closing the attainment gap will enable all students to reach their highest potential.”

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.

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

One of the recommendations calls for institutional research to inform curriculum design and the other calls for this design to involve students and teachers. The new project will therefore gather and analyse institutional and student experience data.

The researchers will aim to identify characteristics of successful attainment; curriculum design principles which are inclusive; BME student experience case studies and useful web pages.

Professor Cousin was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship last year for her contribution to learning and teaching, which enabled her to bid for the funding from the HEA. The project was one of only 11 to receive funding in the latest round.


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