Advance HE has published data and findings related to the size of ethnicity awarding gaps (the difference in proportions of white and students awarded a first/2:1 degree) since 2005 as part of our annual Equality in higher education statistical reports. However, this is the first dedicated report which explores ethnicity awarding gaps in detail across individual and course-level characteristics, specifically for the 2019-20 cohort of qualifiers.
The findings presented in this report provide an up-to-date picture of the extent of awarding gaps in UK higher education and is therefore of significant value to the sector which is looking to deliver positive outcomes for all. This report also provides additional evidence and suggestions for how higher education institutions could most effectively address this enduring problem in UK higher education.
Some of the key findings include:
- The white-Black, Asian and minority ethnic awarding gap (the difference in proportions of white and Black, Asian and minority ethnic students awarded a first/2:1 degree) was 9.9 percentage points in the academic year 2019/20.
- Between 2018/19 and 2019/20, the largest decrease in the awarding gap was recorded.
- Much of the overall awarding gaps were driven by gaps in awards of first-class degrees. 38.9% of white qualifiers and 28.6% of Black, Asian and minority ethnic qualifiers were awarded a first-class degree, which represents a gap of 10.2 percentage points between the two groups.
- Overall, awarding gaps were larger for qualifiers who studied part-time, who studied a non-SET (science, engineering and technology) subject, and who entered their first-degree undergraduate programme with an HE qualification (eg foundation degree).
- The awarding gap varied considerably across institutions, ranging from non-existent or very small at three institutions to more than 20 percentage points at 16 institutions.
- The awarding gap was larger for qualifiers studying at an institution in England, at smaller institutions, and at institutions with a higher overall proportion of students from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.
- Results from regression analyses showed that, overall, awarding gaps decreased, but persisted, even after controlling for qualifiers’ individual and institutional characteristics.
Advance HE Members can access the report below.