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Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning


Cycle 1 of the APP Participatory Action Research Project (2019-20)

The student co-researchers in Cycle 1 of the APP Participatory Action Research Project identified a number of possible reasons for the awarding gaps experienced by some students at Cambridge. They then designed and undertook qualitative research to investigate these further. The resulting ten student-led projects are listed below, with full reports and the slides they used to present their findings to senior staff from the collegiate University, including Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education Professor Graham Virgo, on 23 February 2020.

The reports can also be accessed directly from the sidebar.


  • Strand A: Black British students
  • Strand B: Students with mental health conditions
A central orb with illuminated pathways leading out

Strand A: Advisory Hub

This project explored whether Black British students and staff at Cambridge would benefit from a centralised source of advice and educational support, such as an Advisory Hub.

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An ancient book open to a page covered in handwriting

Strand A: Anti-Racist Glossary

This project explored whether and how the language used in discussions about race at Cambridge - in teaching and other contexts - impacts the academic performance of Black British students.

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Three women having a discussion over coffee

Strand A: Mentoring

This project explored the extent to which Black British students felt adequately supported by mentors or mentoring networks at Cambridge.

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Telescope image of a galaxy

Strand A: STEMM Subjects

This project explored the assumption that STEMM subjects are less likely to have an awarding gap for Black British students than Arts or Humanities subjects.

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A wet floor caution cone on a train platform

Strand B: Content Notes

This project explored staff and student understandings of the role and value of content notes in helping students to engage with their study materials without risk to their mental health.

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Yellow signpost in the mountains pointing in different directions

Strand B: Diagnosis and Screening

This project explored how disabled students with mental health conditions who also have co-occuring neurodiverse conditions might be identified and supported through enhanced diagnosis and screening.

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Photo of empty desks in an exam hall

Strand B: Adjusted Modes of Assessment vs Diversified Assessment

This project explored disabled students' perceptions of the value of more diverse assessments methods for their academic performance and wellbeing.

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Two towers flanking a church both with clocks showing different times

Strand B: Double Time

This project explored the perceived value of 'Double Time' (Extension to Period of Study) to disabled students with mental health conditions.

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Stopwatch cradled in a hand

Strand B: Intermission and Extension to Period of Study

This project explored common understandings of intermission and extension to period of study ('double time') to consider their effectiveness as options to support the wellbeing and academic performance of students with mental health conditions.

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An hourglass resting on pebbles running out of sand

Strand B: Time Costs of Self-Advocacy

This project explored the concept of 'Cambridge Time' and how it might penalise or impact disabled students with mental health conditions.

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