Reflections and actions following consideration of the attainment gap between black and white student performance on a journalism course

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Abstract

Despite the proportion of black and minority ethnic (BME) people entering educa-tion being higher than the proportion of BME individuals within the overall UK pop-ulation, the proportion of BME students achieving first or upper second class de-grees is lower than that of white students (attainment gap of 18.6%). The biggest attainment gap is between White and Black students (29.8%). Within a journalism course at the University of Hertfordshire the performance of black and mixed race students was considered in relation to that of white students. An attainment gap was noted, however further investigation of the data indicated that black/mixed race international students out performed black/mixed race home students and al-so outperformed white students. Consideration of the differences in performance suggested the importance of extra curricula activities and journalism work experi-ence opportunities which were accessed by black international students but not as well accessed by black home students due to time pressures faced by home stu-dents including long hours of paid part time work and commuting time. Awareness of the issues stimulated some of the teaching staff to investigate, and promote, paid diversity schemes to enable BME students to gain work experience in journal-ism enhancing their degree performance in addition to improving their employment prospects. The teaching team also reflected on their curricula and stimulated posi-tive activity within the classroom; the inclusion of assessments and course content directly associated with race has increased student awareness, and the facilitation of discussion of difficult topics within the classroom has reinforced to students
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-19
JournalBlended Learning in Practice
Issue numberAutumn
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013

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