BAME figures in league tables would help universities – Amos

Following the release of the UUK/NUS report on the BAME attainment gap, Soas director says league tables could help universities ‘recognise where they’re at’

University league tables that include BAME inclusion would be a good idea, Valerie Amos has told University Business.

Speaking to UB on what could reduce racial inequalities at HEIs, Lady Amos said: “There is definitely scope to look at this in relation to league tables, to help universities recognise where they’re at.

“I definitely think this idea is worth looking at.”

Amos, who is also director of Soas, led a joint Universities UK (UUK)/National Union of Students (NUS) report that called on providers to “accelerate efforts to remove the BAME attainment gap”.

You need to agree a data set because what you don’t want is for people to turn around later and say I don’t agree with this set of data – Valerie Amos

A review from UUK and NUS on the problem is due in Summer 2020. When asked whether contextual offers could help address the problem, Amos said: “Absolutely.”

The OfS recently called on universities to improve their use of contextual offers. Chris Millward, director for fair access and participation at the OfS, said: “We know that school results are not achieved under equal conditions. Educational gaps are evident from a very young age, and stark by the time that young people are thinking about university.

“But exam results are not, on their own, a sufficient reflection of potential to succeed in and beyond higher education, and it is entirely fair to consider the context in which they are achieved.”

The UUK/NUS report recommended providers improve their data collection. Amos said it was also important vice-chancellors explain how this data can be used. “Universities need an agreed data set and there needs to be transparency around why they have chosen it. You need to agree a data set because what you don’t want is for people to turn around later and say I don’t agree with this set of data.”

When the review is released next year, Amos said she wants “to see vice chancellors looking at their figures and deciding what key performance indicators they want to set themselves.” She added that “universities are all in different places in relation to this” and that they should be measured individually.

“We asked vice-chancellors to sign up to implementing the conclusions in our report. One of the things we will be looking at next year is how that whole institution approach has been made and the difference it has made,” Amos added.

Got a news story for UB? Contact James Higgins on 0117 300 5526

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