Investigating barriers that prevent students attaining their full potential during their degree

Adrian Mihai-Costea, Nasra Hersi, Lija Abu, Felicia Gunawan, Ellen Coakley, Simon Gould, Ahmed Elbediwy


Social and economic barriers that students face during their studies can impact severely on their attainment and can be due to many factors. This study investigated how different socio-economic factors, with a focus on digital poverty and workspace availability may have affected students' attainment (during October 2021 - March 2022) at university post-COVID-19. Quantitative data collected during the first teaching block of the 2021-2022 academic year using specific questions in a paper-based questionnaire indicated that a good proportion of life science students did not have access to a home internet source (35%) or proper workspace facilities (34%) and had the requirement to work alongside their degree in order to fund their studies. In contrast to the lack of internet students experienced, many of the surveyed students did have access to a personal computer within their household. Possible reasons for some of the findings, and the implications of the findings, are discussed here.


Attainment; University; Barriers; Life Science; Data Poverty; Workspace; Course Cohesion

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New Directions in the Teaching of Natural Sciences

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