Bridging the BAME Attainment Gap: Student and Staff Perspectives on Tackling Academic Bias


The Higher Education attainment gap between BAME students and their White peers is well documented. The cause of this gap is multifactorial, and there is a need to understand contributing factors to support the design of meaningful interventions. This study aimed to probe student and staff understanding of what contributes to the attainment gap and to collect feedback on how to reduce it. Qualitative data were collected from 110 STEM students (95% BAME and 75% female) and 20 staff (70% BAME and 80% female) from Universities in the West Midlands and London via one-to-one interviews and focus groups. Questions were developed across themes of support, inclusivity, and development. Transcripts were subjected to inductive and deductive thematic analysis. Key findings included: the need for cultural awareness and representation within student support services and pastoral care provision and tailored support for students who were the first in their families to attend university. Students also felt the academic staff disproportionally represent their backgrounds, leading to a sense of not belonging amongst BAME students. BAME staff felt like tokens for diversity and reported having higher workloads than White staff, the social drinking culture felt isolating, participants felt that all staff should engage with cultural/religious training and diversity of academic staff should be improved through inclusive recruitment practices and mentoring. The results highlight the need for access to academic and pastoral support that is culturally sensitive to all backgrounds.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Biosciences
College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Biosciences > Cell & Tissue Biomedical Research
College of Health & Life Sciences
College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Optometry > Optometry
College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Optometry > Optometry & Vision Science Research Group (OVSRG)
College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Optometry > Vision, Hearing and Language
Uncontrolled Keywords: BAME,attainment gap,Higher education,Inclusion,Ethnicity
Publication ISSN: 2504-284X
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2024 16:44
Date Deposited: 06 May 2022 09:07
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: https://www.fro ... 022.868349/full (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2022-05-06
Accepted Date: 2022-04-14
Authors: Rana, Karan
Bashir, Amreen (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-0428-0922)
Begum, Fatehma
Bartlett, Hannah (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-7531-6902)



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

| Preview

Export / Share Citation


Additional statistics for this record