This paper considers the experience of students groups known to have unexplained attainment gaps in the context of personal tutoring. We seek to understand from the student’s perspective the specific nature of these roles and relationships. Considering the ways in which these roles can and do impact the factors which contribute to gaps in attainment. We explore the ways in which students from BME and lower socio economic backgrounds, experience one-to-one pedagogical relationships. We suggest that these students reflections highlight the way in which one-to-one pedagogical relationships can be vital to support students to divine, and realise their potential. We suggest that these relationships carry complex messages of institutionalised values, which when recognised can have the potential to make significant progress to tacking social inequalities in HE, such as reducing gaps in attainment. (less)
Attainment gaps for some students, such as those from BME or lower socio-economic backgrounds have been acknowledged in UK higher education for quite some time (Brocke & Nichols, 2006; ECU, 2016). As these gaps exist despite controlling for prior attainment, we know they emerge once students enter HE. Existing research highlights how these gaps can be the influenced by a lack of ‘mattering’ and ‘belonging’, leading to a sense of ‘othering’ which can impact on students’ sense of entitlement to support. Such research recommends acknowledging the importance of power sharing betweenstaff and students (Stevenson, 2012), and the way staff can act as ‘agents of change’ in reducing these attainment gaps (Mountford-Zimdars et al, 2015). Building on these recommendations, this paper explores factors which may contribute to attainment gaps in the context of personal tutoring. This paper presents interim findings from students’ reflections on personal tutoring and we suggest that their experiences highlight the way in which one-to-one pedagogical relationships can be vital to support students to realise their potential. We also suggest that these relationships carry complex messages of institutionalised values, which may contribute to tackling social inequalities in HE, such as reducing gaps in attainment.
Unexplained attainment gaps exist for BME students, 17.7% nationally controlling for prior attainment (ECU, 2017). Existing research suggests this is contributed to by a number of factors which staff can be change agents for (Mountford-Zimdars et al, 2015) build relationships of power-sharing with students (Stevenson, 2012). I present the initial findings of a HEFCE-funded-project, which applies these findings to developing an approach to personal tutoring in three disciplines and institutions to support the closure of attainment gaps. This paper presents interim findings from the ‘before’ phase of project, drawing on a series of surveys and focus groups with students and staff from the project. Mobilising Frasers (2001) theories of recognition, I deconstruct the ways in which students and staff conceptualise personal tutoring exploring its potential to perpetuate/remedy social-inequalities. I argue that reconceptualising existing working practices, with a robust theoretical framework to support the ‘participatory parity’ of different groups of students.
RARA is a Targeted Personal Tutoring Support Programme for Narrowing Gaps in Student Achievement.