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Students from Black and Asian minority ethnic backgrounds’ experiences of higher education: a pilot study

Students from Black and Asian minority ethnic backgrounds’ experiences of higher education: a pilot study

Jeavons, Charlotte, Moreno-Leguizamon, Carlos and Cole, Linda (2022) Students from Black and Asian minority ethnic backgrounds’ experiences of higher education: a pilot study. In: SHIFT 2022, January 11 2022, London, Institute for Lifecourse Development, University of Greenwich.

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Eradicating the attainment gap between black, Asian, minority ethnic (BAME), and white students is acknowledge and important in higher education (Higher Education Funding Council for England 2018). This a strategic priority for the University of Greenwich (2021). Students from BAME backgrounds studying within the public health portfolio achieve poorer outcomes than their white counterparts. For example, there was an 18% difference in dissertation grades between students from BAME communities and white students. The dominance of students from BAME communities participating in public health programmes suggests that they may not experience marginality in immediate peer groups in the same way as BAME students enrolled on other programmes with a white student majority and their experience may be more nuanced than statistics suggest. This is a small qualitative project to explore the barriers and enablers of their learning experience that can be used, alongside the quantitative data, as the basis for a larger more targeted study. Ethical approval was provided via the University approvals process.
Students were recruited from a purposive sample of those currently studying within the public health portfolio. Students were given a £20 token for ‘love2shop’for their participation. This was funded by the University. Semi-structured interviews were conducted remotely using MS Teams initially due to restrictions in place for the global pandemic, but in the later stages a small number of on campus interviews took place. In total nine interviews last approximately 30 minutes each took place and these were transcribed verbatim. Transcripts were analysed thematically.
Emergent themes include; the role of the family, the influence of peer groups and flexible learning environment. The findings indicate that measuring student outcomes using ethnicity alone is a blunt tool and doesn’t capture the intersectionality of gender roles within families, the vulnerability of being a BAME student in higher education versus expectations of their achievements and of what this may lead to after graduation.
The outcomes from this study will be fed into the strategic work on the awarding gap across the university and specifically within the public health portfolio. There is particular interest to include the concept of ‘compassionate assessments’ where possible (Browne, 2015). This will be implemented by making use of the Curriculum Framework (University of Greenwich, 2021) with particular focus on developing the following three dimension: Student-informed, Research and pedagogy-informed and Supportive of wellbeing. Moreover, this pilot study will be used to explore opportunities for funding to enable further research within the School of Human Sciences or Faculty of Education, Health and Human Sciences.
This project is a joint piece of work between academic staff and a Graduate Teaching Demonstrator, who graduated from the BSc Hons Public Health in 2020. It is anticipated that she will lead on the implementation plan for any changes to our current curriculum and delivery. This pilot project demonstrates our commitment to the co-creation of teaching and learning.
Conference sub theme: Recognising the Inclusive Curriculum

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: BAME, awarding gap, education experience, students
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > Institute for Lifecourse Development
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > School of Human Sciences (HUM)
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2022 13:50

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