A number of national projects and initiatives have been funded over the last few years all designed to reduce and then eradicate the attainment gap. These have resulted in a range of outputs such as user guides, ‘how to’ guides, and other resources which you can find by following the links below.

Addressing Barriers to Student Success (ABSS)

Addressing Barriers to Student Success (ABSS) is a £7.5 million programme funded by the Office for Students, that aims to scale up pedagogical and student support approaches that have proved successful in addressing differential educational and employment outcomes, especially for underrepresented groups of students. The programme is delivered through 17 collaborative projects The focus of most projects is addressing gaps in educational and employment outcomes of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students and students from low socio-economic backgrounds.

Bridging the gap and sharing the learning

The Higher Education Academy (now AdvanceHE) helped support Kingston University (in collaboration with University of Hertfordshire and University of Wolverhampton) to explore effective institutional strategic approaches to closing the BME attainment gap. The project focuses on four key elements; organisational change, value-added score, inclusive curriculum and student support. Read their approach and report.

Changing Mindsets Projects

In 2017, the Office for Students first began to fund the Changing Minds project which is an intervention that focuses solely on closing the attainment gap of BAME and working-class students. The Changing Mindsets intervention was developed by Professor Sherria Hoskins and is based on Dweck’s Implicit Theories of Intelligence, in which Dweck argued that teachers can help pupils develop a growth mindset by praising their effort and persistence. The Project Partnership includes: University of Portsmouth; University of Arts, London; University of Brighton; University of Winchester. The intervention aims to close the attainment gap in student experience, retention, progression, academic attainment and employability by changing mindsets and eroding stereotype threat and implicit bias as barriers to learning. You can hear Dr Gurnam Singh discuss this approach in more detail in a filmed conversation ‘From Attainment Gap to Awarding Gap’.

Compassion in Higher Education

A study by Dr Theo Gilbert at the University of Hertfordshire explored the effects of using openly compassionate interactional strategies as a way of support for students during their weekly seminar interactions. The study also recorded how this specific practice impacted individual performances in critical thinking seminars. This work is now gaining national and international traction.

Disparities in Student Attainment (DISA)

This research project, undertaken by University of Wolverhampton and University of Coventry, aimed to investigate why disparities in student attainment occur. Through this work, the project has produced an enhanced understanding of why the attainment gap arises, positive impacts on the attainment gap, made conceptual and methodological developments and created resources for students, lecturers, the family of students, curriculum designers, educational developers and researchers in the field of student attainment.

Understanding and overcoming the challenges of ethnicity targeting

This recent report, for the Office for Students, identifies examples of existing effective practice in delivering targeted activities for students from different minority ethnic groups.  Building on the reports’ recommendations guidance for specific stakeholders is offered, including case studies of effective targeted interventions drawn from across the sector. These are aimed at: policy makers, access and participation practitioners, teaching academics and those supporting progression to employment or further study. Further guidance is available on their website.

We will be adding to this list as we become aware of new case studies of good practice. If you have a suggestion to make please email us.