Tag: Student Success

Decolonising the Curriculum: Modules

Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH)

Department of Psychology, Sociology and Politics (PSP)

The attempt to address low attainment, achievement, recruitment and retention amongst students from “BME” heritages and backgrounds has taken place at various levels in PSP with each department striving to address its curriculum, and approaches within teaching, syllabus and content. Within politics and sociology, some members of staff have undertaken informal reviews of their modules and curricula and subsequently changed/included new material that addresses race and ethnicity related inequalities at structural, policy and practice levels. Within these disciplines new modules have been created which focus on scholarship, theory and practice from the global south.
Psychology has begun a subject-group wide audit based on a recent textbook that focussed on diversity, and inclusivity in psychology teaching and learning.
There has been a Race and Ethnicity Reading group convened by Dr. Jon Dean for all members of staff, and research staff. While attendance has been small, these sessions have been wonderfully helpful in raising awareness and allowing for important discussions on race, ethnicity and institutional racism and the visible and invisible privileges of whiteness.
Those members of staff who have engaged with the project have been open, generous and critical of their practice, and have changed their material as well as begun the work of self-reflection and examination. Those involved recognise that it is important to engage all staff though and this is something they are trying to address.
The PSP department are committed to continuing their work on the curriculum and tackling student and staff recruitment.

For further information contact the project lead Dr Anjana Raghavan a.raghavan@shu.ac.uk

Status: ongoing

Can Feedback Support Greater Attainment

Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH)

Department of Law and Criminology (DLC)

This was an action research project that focused on improving grades through meaningful feedback. It originated out of a LEAD  projects that Amy Musgrove worked on 2017/18. Other staff members were working on similar projects and these fed back to each other in order to assess how the feedback supported improvements in students work. The aim was to see what characteristics of feedback supported students to have a greater increase in their mark between T1 and T2. This is to be researched in three ways:

1: Assess the different characteristics of the feedback given in an early assessment.

2: Categories of feedback developed to be tested further.

3: Analyse the GPA between T1 and T2 to see what patterns are identifiable.

A pilot was conducted and the team are committed to further testing their findings in 2019/20. The pilot found that certain types of feedback enhanced performance of the students.

For further information contact the project lead Amy Musgrove, a.musgrove@shu.ac.uk 

Status: ongoing

Placement uptake by BAME Law and Criminology students

Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities

Department of Law and Criminology

The aim was to establish a baseline as to whether students who identify as BAME take part in placement opportunities across the department. The project initially highlighted that participants were not asked to provide demographic information as part of the placement application process. Therefore, the first step for the project was to establish a robust baseline from which to identify whether there is a gap between BAME students and their white peers in applying for and/or being successful with placement opportunities. The main outcome was the recognition that demographic information had previously not been included within the placement application process. In future, demographic information will enable us to see how many students who have expressed an interest in applying for a placement do in fact go on to:
a) Apply
b) Are shortlisted
c) Are successful at interview.
This requirement for demographic information will be embedded into the application process from 2018/19 onwards

If the placement application process includes demographic information, this project could be replicated across the university for placements which are full-time across one semester. A standard application template including the minimum data requirements that could be accessed centrally would enable this to be transferable across the university thus allowing for analysis across various cohorts of students.

For further information contact the project leads Nichola Cadet (Criminology) n.cadet@shu.ac.uk & Chris Riley (Law) n.cadet@shu.ac.uk

Status: ongoing

Impact of feedback on final Dissertation grade

Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH)

Department of Law & Criminology (DLC)

The aim of this project was to explore the relationship between different components of academic feedback and academic performance.  On this basis this project looked at historical student dissertation work (the Interim Framework Report (IFR) and the final Dissertation) and evaluated the feedback staff gave. We found that BAME students tended to receive a lower mark, but the difference was within 2% of non-BAME students. However, feedback to BAME students rarely included any salutation in comparison to non-BAME students. In addition, male students were more likely to improve their mark than female students however the numbers of students were too low to evaluate this based on BAME status alone. This type of analysis could be carried out on a large scale across the University.

For further information contact the project lead Amy Musgrove a.musgrove@shu.ac.uk

Status: ongoing

Road map to Change Event

Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH)

Department of Education, Childhood and Inclusion (DECI)

On Stephen Lawrence day (22nd April), the department held the Road map to Change Event. All undergraduate courses across the department reflected on their current attainment gap and the impact of projects and work on closing the gap. This was done with staff across the department. The aim was to keep the issue of the performance gap under close scrutiny and hold us all to account for closing the gap, while building racial literacy across the staffing group.

The event was successfully delivered on 22 April 2019, and Sehrish Tahir (Graduate Intern) has completed a guidance document for staff in the department using the materials from the day and further research which will support the development of racial literacy of staff going forward. The document can be found here.

For further information contact the project lead Iain Garner i.garner@shu.ac.uk

Status: completed

Addressing the barriers to student uptake of placements

Faculty of Science, Technology and Arts: Engineering and Maths

The project was instigated in recognition of the fact that BME students do not apply for placements or are not successful in gaining placements to the same extent as non-BME students. This in turn can impact on the attainment gap. Identifying barriers and required support was the first step. The longer-term objective is to see an increase in BME students in the Engineering & Maths department taking up placements.

Based on questionnaires with students a number of interventions were proposed including creation of a student placement preparation file and providing timetabled opportunities to work on related activities; offering short internships/ placements; enabling work experience prior to placement; offering placements closer to home; and guest lectures about previous students’ experience of placements. Family awareness and the importance of undertaking a placement may encourage and support students.

Some things can be replicated and transferred readily:  e.g. ensuring placement preparation file is created and completed correctly. Due to scale, some of the other interventions (such as internships and summer placements) may be challenging to implement department-wide.

For further information contact the project lead Sajhda Parveen, s.parveen@shu.ac.uk

Status: completed

Barriers to taking up placements

Faculty of Science, Technology and Arts (STA)

Department of Computing

Successful placement experiences potentially contribute to better degree outcomes. For this reason, the aim of the project was to increase the number of BME students applying for and successfully gaining work placements, by increasing and tailoring support for BME students when making their placement applications. Interim outcomes have been changes to placement support informed by focus group findings. This highlighted an opportunity to rethink how placement support/ employability skills are delivered and at what stages in the student lifecycle this should take place.  It is proposed that the Department develops support that takes into consideration the individual student’s needs and previous experience rather than the current method employed of “teach everything to everyone”.  As a result, the department is now looking at different ways in which level 5 and 6 students will be able to gain employability skills without having to participate in a formal placement. This will involve including a ‘client-based project’ module on the course.

A proposal to revise current teaching is under review with an objective to pilot the new structure in 2019/20.

For further information contact the project lead Deborah Adshead d.adshead@shu.ac.uk

Status: completed

Success principles for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Students

Faculty of Science, Technology and Arts (STA)

Department of Computing

This project sets out to co-create the support needed to address the attainment gap in degree classifications, employability and support the development of the SHU graduate attributes. This initiative draws upon BME role models who have achieved success in their careers/businesses to not only inspire and motivate students but to also help students understand key principles that contribute towards successful academic and career endeavours. The sessions will include the following:

  1. A series of guest speakers that discuss their journey of how they reached their current career stage, detailing some of the important principles/lessons they learnt along the way.
  2. A short interactive workshop will be designed to further understand student needs, encourage reflection and action and to help co-create/shape future seminars.

As project lead, Jamie has identified some positive impact this project has had on both staff and students and continues to develop the programme in order to suit the needs of prospective students.

For further information contact the project lead Jamie Caine j.caine@shu.ac.uk

Status: ongoing

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