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FACE Conference 2009. Report in Progress: BME Students: Great Expectations. Aims for session. Doing educational research The project in progress Issues when ‘taking on’ an existing project Collaborative research at a distance Tentative results Sharing knowledge and experience

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FACE Conference 2009

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FACE Conference 2009

Report in Progress:

BME Students:

Great Expectations

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Aims for session

  • Doing educational research

  • The project in progress

  • Issues when taking on an existing project

  • Collaborative research at a distance

  • Tentative results

  • Sharing knowledge and experience

  • Next steps

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Getting in and staying in

  • Staffordshire, Stoke on Trent, Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin Lifelong Learning Network

  • An invitation

  • Original project proposal

  • Negotiations with sponsor and stakeholders

  • Revised project and action plan

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Kicking Off

  • Consultation with LLN and stakeholders

  • Three FECs

  • Meetings with individual FECs and key players

  • Development and delivery of questionnaire

  • Focus groups out in the community

  • Individual interviews with respondents

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Harsh Realities

  • Securing buy-in from college staff

  • Meeting deadlines

  • Developing and proposing alternative ways to obtain relevant data

  • Liaison with sponsor and stakeholders

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Hands-on

  • Literature Review

  • Issues defining BME learners

  • Constructing the questionnaire

  • A closer look at the questionnaire

  • Interim results and some key findings

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Great Expectations

Literature Review

Why the Difference?

A Closer Look at Higher Education Minority Ethnic Students and Graduates

(Connor, Tyers, Modood, Hillage, 2004 )

Key Messages

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  • Minority ethnic people are more likely to take HE qualifications than White people

  • aspirations and expectations of the value of, and benefits from, higher qualifications is a more significant positive driver for minority ethnic than for White students

  • Great Expectations

  • But when the findings in Why the Difference are disaggregated Connor et al found:

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  • The minority ethnic population does not participate in HE in a uniform way

  • All minority ethnic groups do not do as well in degree performance as White students on average

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  • when gender is also taken into account, the female Bangladeshi participation rate drops below that of both the White male and female groups

  • Minority ethnic students are clustered at certain universities, mostly post-92 universities in London This pattern relates to locality (high representation of minority ethnic population in the London area and many students stay locally)

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  • So BME is not really a very useful aggregation as it is very difficult to say anything about this group that you do not have to qualify immediately

  • The Devil is in the detail

  • Questionnaire design is rather like playing battleships you phrase the questions hoping to hit some aspect of truth

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Construction of questionnaire

  • Initial review of literature

  • Brainstorming

  • Feedback from stakeholders including key members of ethnic minority communities

  • Final draft reviewed by LLN Steering Group

  • Test administration with a small number of BME FE students to check general comprehensibility

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Questionnaire structure

  • Five sections

  • Ethnicity (using Census categories) and other demographic data

  • Education experience to 16

  • Present experience if in education now

  • Any discontinuities in education - reasons

  • Future plans focused on HE

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Questionnaire content

  • Aim to obtain rich data field hence length

  • Mixture of multiple choice, checklists and short-answer open-ended items

  • Attempt to reduce complexity by using sectional structure

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The sample

  • Convenience sample of minority FE and 6th FC students (N=47)

  • Includes mature students recently arrived in UK

  • At present shows bias towards Indian and Pakistani origins (No Bangladeshi respondents)

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The questionnaire in use

  • Average completion time 15-20 minutes

  • Apparent length may be inhibiting some respondents

  • Poor response to some items

  • Difficulties in comprehending some questions (e.g. Q.28)

  • See questionnaire -

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Some Data

  • Age: Range 16-48 yrs, Median 21 yrs

  • Sex: Males = 23, Females =24

  • 29 different languages spoken in homes:

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Thank you

  • For your interest and participation

  • Any further questions?

    Key Reference:

    Why the Difference?

    A Closer Look at Higher Education Minority Ethnic Students and Graduates

    Connor, Tyers, Modood and Hillage ,

    Institute for Employment Studies 2004

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