Does group assessment impact BME attainment?

Natasha Hill, James Denholm Price, Nigel Atkins, Luis Tojal Dourado, Owuraku Nimoh, Nigel Page


Assessment of student learning is fundamental in Higher Education (HE) reflecting academic standards and impacting on student satisfaction, position in league tables and graduate employment.  Nonetheless, there is a BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) attainment gap, the difference in the proportion of BME and White students who attain a first class or 2.1 honours degree (even when controlled for prior attainment and entry profile), which is persistent across the HE sector. As assessment strategies play an essential role in determining degree attainment, we have reviewed the role of group assessment and whether this form of assessment specifically impacts on the BME attainment gap. Overall, this study provided evidence that assessed group work does not adversely impact BME students. In addition, the performance in BME/non-BME/mixed groups did not suggest any consistent difference, suggesting that the demographic composition of groups does not affect BME performance. Therefore, group work would appear to be an inclusive form of assessment that does not appear to lead or contribute to exacerbating the BME attainment gap.

Keywords: Group assessment; attainment; Black and Minority Ethnic


Group assessment; attainment; Black and Minority Ethnic

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Richardson, J. (2015) The under-attainment of ethnic minority students in UK higher education: what we know and what we don’t, Journal of Further and Higher Education, Vol. 39, No. 2 278-291.


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