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Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning


National / sector-wide

Reducing awarding gaps across the Higher Education sector

The Office for Students requires all higher education institutions to submit Access and Participation Plans, and has ambitious targets to reduce awarding gaps across the sector. This resource outlines these targets and provides links to an interactive sector-wide dataset.

Office for Students (2020) Promoting equal opportunities: Our approach to access and participation

Effective practice in access and participation

The Office for Students website provides guidance, including case studies from multiple higher education institutions on effective practice in relation to awarding gaps and related access and participation matters that impact different groups of students.

Office for Students (2021)

Causes of differences in student outcomes

This oft-cited report was commissioned by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). It explores why different types of student achieve different outcomes in UK higher education (HE) and examines the possible causes for differential outcomes and evaluates the steps being taken by institutions to close outcome gaps.

Mountford-Zimdars, A, Sabri, D, Moore, J, Sanders, J, Jones, S & Higham, L (2015) HEFCE, London

Heidi Plus Heidi Plus is a sector-wide data visualisation tool provided by Jisc and populated with 12 years of HESA data. Dashboards are available to compare numbers of students by area of study broken down by protected characteristics, as well as final-year degree classification.


Cambridge resources

Access and Participation Plans

A collation of all Cambridge’s current and past Access and Participation plans. These plans set out information regarding how the University intends to attract and support students with protected characteristics.  Of note are the Access and Participation Plan 2020-2025, in which the University emphasises it commitment to actions to address the awarding gaps impacting two particular cohorts of students (Black British students and students with declared mental health conditions).

University of Cambridge (2021)

Tableau: Attainment gap dashboards

Cambridge’s institutional data is presented in data visualisations on dashboards hosted by the Tableau Server. Both the attainment gap database and the exams results analytics database are searchable for patterns of attainment by student characteristics (gender, ethnicity, disability, school and domicile), but course and college, across a period of more than five years.

Request access to Tableau

University of Cambridge (2021)

Student Barometer The Student Barometer provides year-by-year data on student satisfaction with learning. The data can be filtered by course, gender, age group and study level.


BAME and Black student perspectives

Closing the gap: BAME attainment at UK Universities

This report by Universities UK & NUS contains sector-wide information and case studies on the BAME attainment gap including recommendations to breakdown and eliminate the gap.

Universities UK & NUS (2019)

What works in approaches to the BME attainment gap

The Advance HE’s website provides information about a project involving three universities to address the BME awarding gap.

Advance HE (2021)

The BME attainment gap record

For insight into the university experiences of BME students, please see the report produced by the University of Bristol Students' Union.

Bristol Students' Union (2017)

Black students' experience research report

For insight into the university experiences of Black students, please see the report produced by Middlesex University Student Union. (Note: this report is embedded in LinkedIn.)

Middlesex University Students' Union (2021)


Disabled student perspectives

Mental health: Are all students being properly supported? The Insight Brief published by the Office for Students reports on sector-wide data about awarding gaps and outlines useful approaches to supporting students with mental health conditions.