The OU centre for STEM pedagogy
Winner of the 8th Best Poster Competition at the 12th eSTEeM Annual Conference, 19-20 April 2023.
Data seems to indicate that pass rates for Black students in EEES have previously been low despite completion rates closer to the rest of the cohort (data for other Minority Ethnic students were not included in the presentation). Pass rates for Black students are approximately half that of the White students.
Registrations for Black students (and all Minority Ethnic students) in EEES are low and currently the majority are studying S112 (36 students in 19J, 25 in 18J and 28 in 17J). The proposed project would start by gathering and analysing S112 data around Minority Ethnic students (segmented into Black, Asian, mixed) and would focus on the student journey for those students. Drawing on these findings, later phases of the project would look at implementing adjustments.
The initial phase would involve gathering data including TMA and exam scores across three presentations (17J, 18J, then 20J), and other factors including study intensity, concurrent/ previous modules, credit transfer, employment status, caring responsibility, PEQ, socio-economic status.
Next, we intend to invite Black S112 students to participate in online focus-group discussions to find out about their experience of studying S112, including whether they feel a sense of belonging and how they approached assessment and exam revision. Focus groups will be facilitated by an AL and a student, both of whom we hope to recruit from the Black community and be members of the project team.
Using the data collected and insights from the Student Support Team and Personal Learning Advisers it is proposed to identify whether there are specific pinch points in S112 (for example did TMA scores decrease consistently across the module or was there a specific decrease at a single TMA or the exam?) or barriers in the module (language used in assessment, lack of familiarity with process words such as explain/define, having a face-to-face exam) or other factors that pose specific difficulties for Black students on S112. It is hoped that this would provide an evidence base to inform actions in the second phase of the project (e.g. whether there is a need for additional or different types of exam preparation or proactive interventions at specific points) that could be disseminated more widely across the Faculty for modules adopting similar assessment strategy.
Key outputs will include information on issues faced by Black students on S112. It is anticipated than longer-term outcomes from dissemination of these outputs will include developed understanding of the needs of Black students amongst tutors and others who support students, and more inclusive tuition practice. This should help develop tutors’ confidence and ability in supporting this student group which should have a positive impact on students’ experiences and performance including fostering a greater sense of belonging for the Black student demographic. Findings may also help identify training needs for tutors and others who support students.