Sector leading research published by Brookes academics to understand and address the BME attainment gap

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Dr Louise Bunce

Article about BME and degree attainment published by senior lecturer

Louise is a Senior Lecturer in Human Development in the Department of Sport, Health Sciences and Social Work (Faculty of Health and Life Sciences) and was the lead author on a recent article looking at how to understand causes of the inequitable disparity in degree attainment between white students and students from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.

The article was published in in international higher education journal Studies in Higher Education

British university students from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds are less likely to achieve a ‘good’ degree classification than white students, despite taking prior attainment into account. To examine this gap, the current study conducted focus groups with 17 BME students studying health and social care related subjects to understand their experiences of learning and teaching. This was theoretically informed by self-determination theory, which proposes that achieving one’s full potential for learning, alongside experience of wellbeing, is supported by environments that help individuals to meet their needs for relatedness, competence, and autonomy. Thematic analysis revealed that BME students encountered many obstacles that inhibited their experience of fulfilment of these three needs, which often undermined their initial desire to achieve their full potential.

The findings are discussed in light of how universities can support BME students to achieve their full potential, and in doing so, address the BME attainment gap.