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The Market, Higher Education and Inequality. Pedagogic quality and inequality in undergraduate degrees ( www.pedagogicequality.ac.uk ) Andrea Abbas , Paul Ashwin and Monica McLean Wednesday 15th November 2011 Teesside University UCU. Funded by:. Structure.

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the market higher education and inequality

The Market, Higher Education and Inequality

Pedagogic quality and inequality in undergraduate degrees (www.pedagogicequality.ac.uk)

Andrea Abbas, Paul Ashwin and Monica McLean

Wednesday 15th November 2011

Teesside University UCU

Funded by:

structure
Structure

1) Positioningstudents and staff through a higher education market.

2) Overview of the project

3) Some Initial headline findings about comparative quality: survey and student interview data

http://www.pedagogicequality.ac.uk/

some opening statements about the market
Some opening statements about the market:
  • Continuity of Neo-liberal policies
  • Financial Crisis Legitimizes rapid change
  • Inequities of elite and mass system enmeshed\cemented in markets
  • Staff and student reputations are related – employability agenda
  • We need to challenge markets and the inequalities which preceded them
slide4

Pedagogic Quality and Inequality in University First Degrees: A 3 year ESRC-funded project in sociology-related degrees in four universities

Origins: challenge to ‘quality’ and league tables

Aim: to theorise ‘just’ teaching and learning quality

Objectives:

(1) to evaluate the value for students of sociology degrees in different universities

(2) to investigate (in)equities in curriculum and pedagogy

(3) to contribute to debates about pedagogic quality

the universities
The Universities
  • Prestige and Selective regularly rated in the top third of university league tables; Communityand Diversity regularly rated in the bottom third.
the data
The data
  • 96 first-year interviews;
  • 128 case study interviews (34 students)
  • video-recordings of seminars/workshops;
  • interviews with tutors;
  • student work;
  • a survey of over 700 students;
  • an analysis of curriculum documents;
  • an analysis of national policy documents.
slide7
The student perspective: outcomes of a high quality undergraduate social science education (interviews and survey)

three broad outcomes:

  • Enhanced academic and employability skills;
  • Empathy for a wider range of people;
  • A change in personal identity and an intention to change society for the better.
enhanced academic skills
Enhanced academic skills

I really enjoy just having gained the skills and I think that I have gained them over the last year and half. Extracting information, analyzing it and being able to see beyond the surface material... and being able to go beyond that and find real processes behind what is happening. And linking that into historical and social contexts with cultural theories. That is what I really, really enjoy.

(Ester, Selective)

understanding of and empathy for a wider range of people
Understanding of and empathy for a wider range of people

I like the diversity of seeing everything differently and seeing new things and how it impacts on me as a person, how I behave towards others and ... it’s helped me become a better person, purely because of the experience and seeing new things.

(Leena, Diversity)

a change in personal identity and an intention to change society for the better
A change in personal identity and an intention to change society for the better

I’m most interested in the way that the international community works and the ways to resolve conflict... I couldn’t go for another job because university has opened my eyes too much. I’ve been too exposed to reading certain things that are happening ... I can’t just shut my eyes and go back to normality. I don’t think I can do that now, I’d feel like I am betraying myself and what I think and what I believe in.

(Martin, Community)

processes that supported these outcomes
Processes that supported these outcomes

The outcomes were related to:

  • Students’ levels of engagement with academic knowledge, which was a process of personal transformation that required hard work to achieve.
  • High quality teaching consisting of:
        • good relations with interesting and encouraging tutors, who give helpful feedback;
        • high quality academically-focused discussions of relevant knowledge as part of well designed courses; and
        • support to overcome obstacles to study.
the complexities of quality processes
The complexities of quality: processes

(*Institutions in Redhave scores that are significantly higher than those inBlue)

policy implications
Policy implications

Our research:

  • questions the portrayal of students as simply ‘consumers’;
  • highlights how assuring quality through competition for studentsobscures an enhancement approach;
  • suggests employability skills are most effectively developed through engagement with academic knowledge;
  • questions the focus on different kinds of knowledge for non-traditional students.
conclusions
Conclusions
  • University education has equalising and ‘value added’ effects;
  • Teaching and learning quality is complex and multidimensional;
  • Students’ levels of engagement with academic knowledge is a key indicator of quality; and
  • University league tables unfairly reinforce social inequalities.