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Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning


Professor Liz Austen
Sheffield Hallam University

The Changing Evaluation Landscape in Higher Education

This presentation will introduce attendees to the changing landscape of evaluation in higher education by exploring regulatory guidance and shifting expectations for Access & Participation Plans.

In April 2023, The Evaluation Collective published a response to the Office for Students' guidance on Access & Participation Plans, aligned to the principles of their Evaluation Manifesto. Liz will discuss these critical reflections, which include discussions of who is evaluating, how it is being resourced, what methods we are using, and how learning will be enabled. These questions aim to set the scene for further reflections from practitioners throughout the day.


Dr Paul Ian Campbell
University of Leicester

From abstract ideas to actual race inclusion: Reflecting on the effectiveness of interventions for making assessment racially inclusive and on the methodologies for capturing 'change' across three UK universities

In 2018 the Office for Students placed the responsibility for monitoring and addressing the race award gap (RAG) in student degree outcomes within the Access & Participation Plan framework. This prompted the launch of a plethora of interventions and activities for decolonising the academe or for making HE more racially inclusive across the sector. Despite this flurry of activity, there has been relatively little consistent or meaningful reduction in the RAG. In some instances, the gap has widened for students from specific minority ethnic communities, such as those who self-define as Black heritage (Douglas Oloyede et al 2021).

Half a decade on from universities formally taking responsibility for reducing the RAG, the sector remains unclear as to the causes of this particular manifestation of race-based inequity and on what works to mitigate its uneven impact on students of colour. We also remain unsure how to capture change and what this looks like beyond positivistic measurements. What actually works to make HE more racially inclusive?

Against this backcloth, Paul's (2023) QAA-funded report, An Evaluation of the Racially Inclusive Practice in Assessment Guidance Intervention on Students' and Staffs' Experiences of Assessment in HE: A Multi-University Case Study, represents one of the first large-scale case studies to respond explicitly to this lacuna. Drawing on the evaluative results of this pilot study, which embedded the Racially Inclusive Practice in Assessment resources across three Higher Education Providers, Paul will reflect on the measurable effects and limits of module-level interventions for making the lived experiences of assessment more racially equitable, for reducing the race award gap and, importantly, on the methodologies required to capture change in the experience and performance of students of colour.


Dr Sally Andrews
Staffordshire University

Learning from the sector: How a typology of interventions can help to reduce inequalities through the student journey

Staffordshire University recently undertook a TASO-commissioned project to develop a typology of interventions aiming to address the Ethnicity Degree Award Gap (EDAG). Alongside the resulting typology, the report explores the experiences of those with roles concerned with reducing this gap; from Student Success Officers through to Pro-Vice-Chancellors.

Sally will begin this talk by summarising the key learning, reflections and recommendations from this project, before considering how these findings can influence how we engage meaningfully with Theory of Change models and evaluation to effect sustainable transformation of the sector throughout the student journey.


Student Voice: Jordan Byrne
University of Cambridge

"What will you do with my voice?" Reflecting on my experiences of student engagement

In this presentation, Jordan draws from her student experience and work in student services, where she has navigated multiple invitations to respond to surveys, participate in focus groups or sit in committees to contribute to discussion related to access & participation, widening participation or Black student experiences. While she recognises and appreciates the value of harnessing the ‘student voice’, she reflects on an increasing reluctance by herself and her peers to respond to invitations that don’t make an effort to engage with her in an authentic way, and that may indeed be reproducing assumptions and inequities. She shares her own approach to 'evaluating' the evaluation activities of the university.

Jordan’s current Master's dissertation topic is "Black students' placemaking experiences of elite universities" (Cambridge) and her undergraduate dissertation was on "Sense of belonging as an approach to closing the Black/white awarding gap" (UCL).

See the slides from Jordan's presentation

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