If you are new to the notion of the attainment gap by ethnicity, a good place to start is with the report: ‘The Ethnicity Attainment Gap: Literature Review’.
It provides a comprehensive overview of the key areas of research concerning differential degree attainment for BME students. It explores some of the key issues that students from BME backgrounds face in Higher Education and looks at ongoing work from other Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to address these issues and to narrow the attainment gap.
Universities UK (UUK) and the National Union of Students (NUS) released a report in May 2019 outlining five steps that universities can follow to narrow the gaps in degree awarding for BAME students: Black, Asian and minority ethnic student attainment at UK universities: #ClosingtheGap
A UUK blog summarising the report can be found here. Sheffield Hallam University had several members of staff involved in the project; Professor Sir Chris Husbands, Vice Chancellor at Sheffield Hallam University, was a member of the vice-chancellors’ working group that provided feedback and a strategic view for the project, and Professor Jacqueline Stevenson and Aloma Onyemah provided contributions and guidance.
EHRC report on racial harrassment in British universities
The Equality and Human Rights Commission [EHRC] has published a report on racial harassment in British universities. This is the first significant study of the issue across the sector and makes it plain that racial harassment is all too often a fact of life for minority staff and students. It concludes that universities have not been sufficiently equipped to recognise and respond to racial harassment, are unaware of the scale of the issue and have been overconfident in their ability to handle it. It is, in short, a damning report.
Sheffield Hallam University is committed to advancing race equality and creating a racially inclusive culture for everyone who works and studies here. Participation in the EHRC survey was voluntary, and this University participated in the survey willingly. But, like other universities across the sector, we have a good deal of work to do.
Anti-racist resources can be found here, as curated by Sehrish Tahir for Department of Education, Childhood and Inclusion.
(Reports and papers which have been published since 2016 or are not in this literature review are listed below.) We will continue to add to this so if you have any recommendations please email us.
Other reports and papers
Austen, L. and Jones-Devitt, S. (2018) Observing the observers: Using digital storytelling for organisational development concerning ‘critical whiteness’. https://www.lfhe.ac.uk/en/research-resources/research-hub/small-development-projects/sdp2018/sheffield-hallam-university-po.cfm
Austen, L., Heaton, C., Jones-Devitt, S. and Pickering, N. (2017) Why is the BME attainment gap such a wicked problem? The Journal of Educational Innovation, Partnership and Change, 3 (1), 147-158.http://dx.doi.org/10.21100/jeipc.v3i1.587.
Bhopal,K. (2014) The experience of BME academics in higher education: aspirations in the face of inequality. Southampton Education School, University of Southampton https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/Bhopal%2520stimuls%2520paper%2520final.pdf
Ghaffar, F. and Stevenson, J. (2018), British Pakistani and Bangladeshi women, Higher Education and Defensive Othering, Journal of Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning. 20 (3), 50-67.
Gillbourn, D. (2005) Education policy as an act of white supremacy: whiteness, critical race theory and education reform, Journal of Education Policy, 20:4, 485-505, DOI: 10.1080/02680930500132346
HEPI (2019) Dale-Rivas, H. (ed.) The white elephant in the room: ideas for reducing racial inequalities in higher education. HEPI Report 120, University of London. https://www.hepi.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/HEPI_The-white-elephant-in-the-room_Report-120-FINAL-EMBAROED-19.09.19.pdf
Jones-Devitt, S., Austen, L., Chitwood, E., Donnelly, A., Fearn, C., Heaton, Latham, G., Lebihan, J., Middleton, A., Morgan, M., Parkin, H and Pickering, N. (2017) Creation and confidence: BME students as academic partners…but where were the staff? Journal of Educational Innovation Partnership and Change, 3 (1), 278-285. http://dx.doi.org/10.21100/jeipc.v3i1.580
Madriaga, Manuel (2018). Antiblackness in English higher education. International Journal of Inclusive Education. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13603116.2018.1512660?scroll=top&needAccess=true
Malik. A. and Wykes, E. (2018) Muslim Students in UK Higher Education: Socio-political, religious and policy considerations. London: Bridge Institute. http://bridgeinstitute.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Bridge-Higher-Education-report-1-FINAL.pdf
Mountford-Zimdars, A, Sanders, J, Moore, J, Sabri, D, Jones, S and Higham, L. (2017) What can universities do to support all their students to progress successfully throughout their time at university?, Perspectives: Policy and Practice in Higher Education, 21:2-3, 101-110, DOI: 10.1080/13603108.2016.1203368
Mountford-Zimdars, A., Sanders, J., Moore, J., Sabri, D., Jones, S. and Higham, L. (2017). What can universities do to support all their students to progress successfully throughout their time at university? Perspectives: Policy and Practice in Higher Education, 21:2-3, 101-110. https://doi.org/10.1080/13603108.2016.1203368
Mountford-Zimdars, A., Sabri, D., Moore, J., Sanders, J., Jones, S. and Higham, L. (2015) Causes of differences in student outcomes. Report to HEFCE by King’s College London,ARC Network and The University of Manchester. Bristol: HEFCE.
Richardson John T.E (2013), The under-attainment of ethnic minority students in UK higher education: what we know and what we don’t know’. Journal of Further and Higher Education, pp. 278-291 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0309877X.2013.858680
Richardson, T. E. (2015) ‘The under-attainment of ethnic minority students in UK higher education: what we know and what we don’t know.’ Journal of Further and Higher Education, 39 (2), 278-291.
Rollock, N. and Gillborn, D. (2011) Critical Race Theory (CRT). British Educational Research Association. Available at: https://www.bera.ac.uk/researchers-resources/publications/criticalrace-theory-crt
Stevenson, J. (2018), Muslim Students in UK Higher Education: Issues of Inequality and Inequity. London: Bridge Institute. http://bridgeinstitute.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Bridge-Higher-Education-report-2-FINAL.pdf
Stevenson, J., Demack, S., Stiell, B., Abdi, M. Clarkson, L., Ghaffar, F. and Hassan, S. (2017) The Social Mobility Challenges Faced by Young Muslims, London: Social Mobility Commission https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/642220/Young_Muslims_SMC.pdf
Stevenson, J., O’ Mahony, J., Khan, O., Ghaffar, F. and Stiell, B., (2019), Understanding and overcoming the challenges of targeting students from under-represented and disadvantaged ethnic backgrounds. Bristol: the Office for Students https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/understanding-and-overcoming-the-challenges-of-ethnicity-targeting/
Stevenson, J. and Whelan, P. (2013) Synthesis of US literature relating to the retention, progression, completion and attainment of black and minority ethnic (BME) students in HE. York: Higher Education Academy https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/system/files/bme_report_js_0.pdf