Objective 6: To consider how we address low degree attainment amongst UG ethnic minority students

Key Performance Indicator(S)

  • Investigate and address relatively lower degree attainment amongst UG ethnic minority students.
  • Continue to encourage inclusive teaching and learning practice.

Senior Accountable Executive(s)

  • Chair of Senate
  • Heads of Schools
  • Director of People Services
  • Director of Academic Services

Recent progress

  • Delivery of a joint project by the Equality Challenge Unit and the Higher Education Academy called ‘Ethnicity, gender and degree attainment’. This project mapped the landscape of BME attainment in Higher Education.
  • Production of a joint publication by the Equality Challenge Unit and the Higher Education Academy on ‘Improving the degree attainment of Black and Minority Ethnic Students’.
  • Continue to encourage inclusive teaching and learning practice through staff development sessions and a variety of student support areas.
  • Recent initial review of student equality data with regards to attainment shows that in the academic years 2008/09 – 2010/11 on average 5% of Black students and 4.3% of Asian students compared with 2% of White students were awarded Third Class Honours at degree level. The University’s average for Third Class Honours for this period was 3.6%. Ethnic minority students, especially black students, who are awarded a Third Class Degree, continue to be higher than the University’s average.
  • Equally, in the same period on average White students (average 22.6%) are 3.5 times more likely to be awarded a First Class Honours Degree than Black students (average 6.6%).


  • At a national level there is a “confusing and complex picture regarding degree attainment, ethnicity and the mitigating effects of socio-economic, educational and institutional factors for individual attainment” (Improving the degree attainment of Black and ethnic minority students, ECU and the Higher Education Academy, p. 4, 2011) This complexity may be reflected locally.

Our Approach ‘going forward’

  • Being evidence informed and developing a deeper understanding of degree attainment on Brunel’s students by equality breakdown.
  • To further analyse preliminary findings with regards to attainment.
  • Investigate and where necessary, progress work to address, any issue(s) relating to the success of ethnic minority students.
  • Publish findings and where necessary, consult with relevant staff and students on any action plan designed to address lowering degree attainment amongst ethnic minorities.
  •  Share best practice designed to address differential degree attainment from across the sector and within the University.
  • Engage Academic and Administrative staff members in the process of change.
  • Review current policies and practices that will enhance the attainment of ethnic minority students thus guaranteeing student satisfaction and inclusive learning.

Page last updated: Wednesday 06 June 2012