Addressing Inclusive Attainment

Man and Woman discussing artwork
Courtesy of UAL

We recognise there is no single reason for inequalities in attainment, and no single or simple solution. Those who have been successful in closing attainment gaps have adopted a multi-pronged approach and have embedded equality, diversity and inclusion into the culture of their courses and learning environments.

This approach is described in the four-step process below.

Step 1: Monitor data

Active Dashboards is a data visualisation tool that has recently been introduced by the University Central Planning Unit (UCPU), which allows you to access unit, course, college and programme data through interactive, filterable dashboards. One of these dashboards is entitled Undergraduate Attainment, and provides an overview of the undergraduate attainment position at UAL for different demographic groups. This dashboard considers the proportion of students achieving a 1st or 2:1 degree, but also the gaps in these proportions for different demographic groups.

Find out more by searching for the ‘UCPU active dashboards’ on the UAL intranet. For further information on Active Dashboards, contact dashboards@arts.ac.uk, and for support with using Dashboards, contact Lucy Panesar, l.panesar@fashion.arts.ac.uk, Educational Developer (Diversity and Inclusion).

Further reading

Step 2: Audit curriculum and culture

We advise staff to audit their curriculum and evaluate the culture of their learning environments to ensure they support the attainment of all students. The following resources offer examples and guidance on doing this.

The National Union of Students (NUS) offers guidance on auditing the curriculum for diversity in their 2011 publication Liberation, Equality and Diversity (see p13 for the audit).

At UAL, we have mechanisms for monitoring the equality and diversity of the student profile regarding access, retention and attainment. We would next like to gather data on students' perceptions of equally, diversity and inclusion on their courses. To achieve this, you might opt to conduct a Campus Climate Survey to get an understanding of how students are experiencing and perceiving diversity and inclusion in their learning environments. To find out more, take a look at Sedlacek’s Campus Climate Surveys: Where to Begin and see, as an example, the Racial Climate Survey Report conducted by Graduate Students at University of Memphis (2007).

Step 3: Make interventions, evaluate and embed

Everyone at the University has a part to play in supporting student success. Whatever your role, there are actions you can take to tackle the attainment gap. Below is a series of case studies outlining initiatives already undertaken at UAL that might give you ideas and further resources to use in your own contexts.

Case Studies

  1. Diversity Data (PDF 644KB) by Lucy Panesar
  2. Make the Grade (PDF 410KB) by Terry Finnigan
  3. BAME High Achievers (PDF 376KB) by Kelly Chorpening

The University’s RAS (Retain, Achieve, Succeed) Research Programme explored the disparity between the levels of degrees attained by home Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) and home white students. Visit the RAS website RAS Research Programme for an overview of the programme, its research and publications, and its education and training activities.

In addition, the Still Waiting Project was a student-led and student focused research group that addressed the lack of diversity experienced on the BA Sound Arts and Design curriculum at London College of Communication.

Step 4: Share your good practice

By sharing your projects and interventions to improve the attainment of disadvantaged groups of students, you can help UAL to address attainment inequalities overall.  

Two ways of achieving this above and beyond using existing College networks are to:

  • Contribute to Spark Journal, UAL’s open-access academic journal that explores all aspects of teaching and learning across disciplines and colleges at UAL.
  • Contact Lucy Panesar, l.panesar@fashion.arts.ac.uk, Educational Developer (Diversity and Inclusion), who will be able to support you in sharing your good practice. 

Resources

Inclusive higher education

Inclusive arts education

Inclusivity for international students