Tag: Academic Writing

Academic Language and Literacy Group

Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH)

Department of Education, Childhood and Inclusion (DECI)

Two seminar sessions were delivered by the Academic Language & Literacy Group (ALL) to all Level 4 BA Education Studies students. The sessions were based on priorities identified through consultation with course and module leaders and analysis of previous students’ assignments. These sessions were implemented through the ‘Language and Learning’ module with the aim of narrowing the degree awarding gap.

For further information contact the project lead Manny Madriaga, m.madriaga@shu.ac.uk

Status: ongoing

Enhancing extended scientific writing skills (HWB)

Faculty of Health and Wellbeing (HWB)

Department of Biosciences and Chemistry

This project had a working hypothesis that the BAME attainment gap within Biomedical Sciences may be partly due to BAME students having under-developed skills in extending writing.  This project aimed to investigate two areas: the underlying reasons behind any differences in extended writing skills of BAME students compared to white students; the impact of an intervention offered to all students, not just BAME, in a level 5 module. The intervention included 3 workshops that supported extended writing in coursework and exams. 

The preliminary conclusion from this study is that an intervention aimed at all students to improve extended writing skills contributes to closing the BAME attainment gap, particularly for students with English as a 2nd language, but that student engagement is a limiting factor in the effectiveness of this strategy.

The project identified that there is a Gender gap within the BAME attainment gap. It was highlighted that male students’ attainment is lower than females and that male students are less likely to attend support sessions. The department plans to continue to raise awareness among staff and further conversations will take place for positive action interventions.

The department is now repeating the project again within the 2018/19 academic year. The purpose of this is to collect more data to confirm findings in a second data set with full ethical approval to allow the data to be published. The academic skills intervention has taken place.

For further information contact the project lead Dr Caroline Dalton, c.f.dalton@shu.ac.uk

Status: ongoing

Dissertation Writing Support Drop-in

Faculty of Health and Wellbeing (HWB)

Academy of Sport and Physical Activity (ASPA)

This project aimed to reduce the BAME attainment gap in the Academy of Sport and Physical Activity through writing support drop-in sessions for dissertation students. The drop-in sessions were delivered by dissertation tutors in the Academy who had previously undertaken a one-hour workshop designed to enhance their ability to support student writing. The writing workshop was delivered by an experienced TESOL (Teaching English as a Second or Other Language) tutor two weeks before the first drop-in session. The outcomes of the dissertation writing drop-in sessions only served to widen the BAME/white attainment gap as only white students attended. Out of a possible 450 students, 27 attended the drop-in sessions.  All attendees were white.
However, the project had raised awareness and sparked interest in the BAME attainment gap across the Academy resulting in four more interventions being held.

This project is currently not yet replicable, transferable or scalable. More work and time are yet to be invested in order to explain the benefits of dissertation to students and to promote better engagement with the sessions by BAME students.

For further information contact the project lead Amanda West, a.j.west@shu.ac.uk

Status: ongoing

Writing Skills Group

Faculty of Health and Wellbeing: Department of Social Work and Social Care and Community Studies

The department is revisiting a previous writing skills group to see if the re-introduction of the programme would be helpful and achievable within current resources. The successful work was published by departmental colleagues in 2014 and has had some success in the past but foundered on a lack of suitable staffing resource. Peter Nelson & Cal Weatherald (2014) Cracking the Code—An Approach to Developing Professional Writing Skills, Social Work Education: The International Journal, 33:1, 105-120, DOI: 10.1080/02615479.2012.740453.

For further information contact the project lead: Dr Alison Purvis a.purvis@shu.ac.uk

Status: ongoing

Enhancing extended scientific writing skills

Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH)

Department of Education, Childhood and Inclusion (DECI)

Two seminar sessions were delivered by the Academic Language & Literacy Group (ALL) to all Level 4 BA Education Studies students. The sessions were based on priorities identified through consultation with course and module leaders and analysis of previous students’ assignments. These sessions were implemented through the ‘Language and Learning’ module with the aim of reducing the BAME attainment gap.

The ALL intervention is intended for ALL undergraduate students in the university and is being implemented in other modules.

For further information contact the project lead Manny Madriaga m.madriaga@shu.ac.uk

Status: ongoing

Academic integrity and academic conduct and the BAME attainment gap

Faculty of Health and Wellbeing

This project aimed to reduce the number of proven cases of academic misconduct by BAME students within the Health and Wellbeing faculty. Alongside this, the department also wanted to have a consequent positive impact on achievement and retention. The aim was to reduce the incidence of proven cases of academic misconduct among BAME students as a percentage of enrolled students by the end of the 2017/18 session. Interim evidence indicates that many BAME students are now being referred to the academic concerns process, and not issued a sanction as a result.

This work is highly replicable and transferable as it links to the new Academic Conduct Regulation, which is university-wide. In addition, the evidence indicates that the issues are sector-wide.

For further information contact the project lead John Freeman, J.P.Freeman@shu.ac.uk

Status: ongoing

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