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Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning


Cycle 2 of the APP Participatory Action Research Project (2020-21)

The student co-researchers taking part in Cycle 2 of the APP Participatory Action Research Project looked to build on the work undertaken in Cycle 1, by investigating some topics more deeply and exploring new avenues. We hoped this year to drill down into more Faculty- and College-specific actions that could be taken to address the awarding gaps.

The resulting six student-led projects are listed below, with full reports and the slides used to present their findings to senior staff from the collegiate University, including Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education Professor Graham Virgo, on 31 March 2021.

You can also watch a full recording of the forum (University members only).


  • Strand A: Black British students
  • Strand B: Students with mental health conditions
Man carrying a rucksack selecting a book from a library shelf

Strand A | Curricular Representation

This project explored how much choice should be given for students and/or supervisors to discuss and explore non-white-centric material and ideas, and how much should be designed-in as core to the curriculum for all.

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Three students poring over a timetable or map

Strand A | First-Year Transition

This project explored how the first-year transition might contribute to eventual awarding gaps for Black British students at Cambridge, looking especially at potential differences between STEM subjects and arts & humanities subjects.

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Students gathered round a table for a supervision

Strand A | Supervisions: Black British Perspective

This project explored whether the supervision system currently meets the educational needs of Black British students sufficiently, ensuring their best chance for success.

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Students gathered round a table for a supervision

Strand B | Supervisions: Mental Health Perspective

This project explored how the experiences and challenges of supervisions and supervision work differ between students with and without mental health problems.

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A person writing in a book at a table with coffee and papers

Strand B | Assessment Guidance

This project explored what assessment methods, conditions and instructions are provided to students in different courses, and what examples there are of good practice with regard to student mental health.

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Three students studying together on a picnic bench

Strand B | Peer Learning

This project explored examples of existing peer learning and support to be found across Cambridge, and looked at which are most effective in supporting students' mental health and academic performance.

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