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Narrowing awarding gaps: the contributory role of institutional policy and assessment type

Cagliesi, Gabriella; Hawkes, Denise; Smith, Susan; (2024) Narrowing awarding gaps: the contributory role of institutional policy and assessment type. Studies in Higher Education 10.1080/03075079.2023.2209597. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Awarding gaps between various groups of students persist acrossthe Higher Education sector, yet the responses designed to addressthe contributors remain localised. The sudden spread of COVID-19led to various responses across the University sector creating anunprecedented natural experiment and offering the opportunity tocompare outcomes from these measures with prior cohorts. This studyseeks to investigate the effects of two COVID-19 interventions onstudents’performance in the Business and Management discipline at aUK university. The specific COVID-19 measures considered here are themove to online assessments and the new grade policy to ensure thepandemic did not affect students’outcomes adversely. We use a KernelPropensity Score and a Quantile Difference in Differences models toestimate the treatment effect of the two COVID interventions on thetreated group, namely term two students’performances of theacademic year 2019/20. Our results indicate that the effects of bothCOVID interventions supported the outcomes of international students,thereby narrowing the awarding gap. Findings suggestfirstly thatinstitutional policies adopted in crises should seek to address potentialadverse effects on student outcomes for the period of disruption,indicating that significant care should be taken in their drafting. Thepolicy, in this case, was found to have achieved its aim. Secondly, themove to new modes of assessment combined with detailed briefingsfrom faculty may have served to uncover aspects of the hiddencurriculum for this group, contributing to a narrowing of awarding gapsbetween different groups of students.

Type: Article
Title: Narrowing awarding gaps: the contributory role of institutional policy and assessment type
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2023.2209597
Publisher version: https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/cshe20/current
Language: English
Additional information: © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis GroupThis is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided theoriginal work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way. The terms on which this article has been publishedallow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.
Keywords: COVID-19; awarding gaps;assessment mode; studentoutcomes; higher education
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > UCL School of Management
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10169152
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