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eSTEeM Seminar Series - Inclusivity in Pre-Assessment Academic Support

Thursday, 26 November, 2020 - 14:00
Thursday, 26 November, 2020 - 15:00
Via Microsoft Teams

Dr Nicola Swann, Kingston University

Within Higher Education there is continuing evidence of lower attainment for students of black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) groups, despite increased awareness and institutional efforts to provide equality in the educational experience. It has previously been identified that use of academic language can be a contributing factor, with a likely impact on assessment performance but BAME students may be less likely to access academic support. We completed a preliminary study to investigate the use of pre-assessment support in nutrition and sport science related courses at Kingston University and explored students’ preferences, to determine whether differences were evident between BAME and white students. Data collection consisted of questionnaires and a focus group, led by student partners. Results suggested differences between white and BAME students in use of academic support, which were reflected in preferences, where the highest preference of BAME students was in-module tutorials compared to white students preferring office hours or staff appointments. Pressures of time, location and availability were cited as reasons to not seek support. The focus group indicated that student use of pre-assessment support is influenced by pre-assessment concerns, preferences for more specialised and personal forms of support and preferences regarding the nature of communication. This emphasises the need to understand requirements of different student groups to provide universally accessible support options and the benefits of personal support in both one-to-one and group environments.


Dr Nicola Swann is a Senior Lecturer and Course Leader in the Department of Applied and Human Sciences at Kingston University, where she has worked for the past 12 years, and is a Senior Fellow of the HEA. She is a part of a small, effective team of Sport Scientists at Kingston, who have consistently achieved the highest NSS scores for student satisfaction, due to their focus on improving the student experience. Having worked to embed inclusivity in all aspects of the curriculum, she is now working to understand the ongoing contributory factors of the attainment gap between white students and those of black, Asian and minority ethnic groups, in order to better meet the needs of the diverse student population.


Each seminar will be recorded and followed by an (optional) online evening discussion on the first Thursday of each month where OU colleagues are invited to come together and discuss in more detail the issues raised in the previous week’s seminar. To confirm your online attendance to the seminar and/or online discussion, please visit the registration page by Monday 23rd November.

This seminar is open to OU staff.


Recording of the seminar via MS Stream (Intranet only)

Nicola Swann, Inclusivity in Pre-Assessment Academic Support presentation (PPT)