Can the role of a personal tutor contribute to reducing the undergraduate degree awarding gap for racially minoritised students?

Josephine Gabi, Alison Braddock, Claire Brown, Denise Miller, Gwenda Mynott, Melissa Jacobi, Pallavi Banerjee, Karen Kenny, Andrew Rawson

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Abstract

The imperative to address the complex problem of degree awarding gaps within UK higher education institutions is multifaceted and messy. Various studies have continually highlighted this persistent undergraduate awarding gap (racial equity gap or/ethnicity gap) between White and racially minoritised students. This disparity in educational outcomes, where racially minoritised students compared to their White counterparts are less likely to graduate with good honours degrees, has gained considerable attention from policymakers and scholars. This underscores the need for comprehensive strategies that transcend conventional approaches and boundaries to achieve systemic change. Efforts to close the awarding gap have predominantly focused on decolonising the curriculum, which is vital. Still, it is also crucial to recognise personal tutoring (PT) as a pivotal and often underestimated role in addressing the awarding gap. The PT role, with its potential to provide a joined-up experience for students, promoting student engagement and enabling them to navigate the ever-changing academic landscape, can be a catalyst for racial equity and an antidote to the degree awarding gap. By reviewing the literature, empirical studies, policy frameworks and practical implementations, this paper sheds light on the diverse ways PT can serve as a potent tool for promoting equity and inclusion and enhancing equitable outcomes for all. Through a synthesis of existing literature and critical analysis, this scoping review highlights ways PT in higher education is conceptualised nationally and internationally and how it can drive transformational change in higher education when aligned with principles of equity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalBritish Educational Research Journal
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Mar 2024

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