Our recommendations: Evidence and analysis
Universities need to empower staff by giving them access to the data they need to remove ethnicity awarding gaps.
Many universities have found that putting a data dashboard in place has been key to building awareness and understanding of awarding gaps.
Universities should be more transparent about awarding gaps and share information with students in an accessible way.
For example, universities could:
- put data dashboards in place, with appropriately trained staff to manage awarding gap data centrally
- give academic staff access to awarding-gap data, ideally broken down at a course or even modular level so that approaches to tackling the gap can be tailored
- give ownership of data to heads of department (or similar roles)
- present awarding-gap data, the actions being taken to remove gaps, and ways for students to get involved, clearly and accessibly on university websites
What’s changed since 2019?
Universities have made substantial progress in gathering and analysing data on ethnicity awarding gaps. We now have a much better understanding of what a good approach to managing awarding gap data is.
Collecting data is an essential first step. Now universities need to work to make sure staff are empowered to act on the data available to them. Universities also need to work more closely with students.
The gap between white and BAME students awarded a First for their degrees is 9.5%. The gap is 19.3% for Black students. Universities need to break down their awarding-gap data and think about what additional or targeted practices they need in order to tackle this discrepancy.
I think we have the data. I think now is for universities who have been doing the work to share the successes of their interventions, so that across the board, across all universities in the UK, we can begin to close that gap.
Postgraduate student, Swansea University
What did university staff say?
- 87% of those who responded to our survey have, or plan to, set a university-wide Key Performance Indicator (KPI) for ethnicity degree-awarding gaps.
- 82% told us their universities are disaggregating data by ethnicity, but this varies. Universities most commonly use HESA’s six categories (White/Black/Asian/Mixed/Other/Unknown).
- 77% of universities are taking an intersectional approach to analysing data and tailoring interventions, most commonly considering factors such as gender, age, measures of deprivation (such as household income) and disability.
- Dashboards containing ethnicity awarding-gap data, accessible to all staff, are now common. However, whether this data is available at faculty, course or modular levels varies.