HE assessment guidance is successfully tackling racial inequality, study finds

The most recent assessment of the Racially Inclusive Practice in Assessment Guidance (RIPIAG) has shown that its implementation has improved race inequality in Higher Education (HE).

RIPIAG was developed by the Inaugural Director of the University of Leicester Institute for Inclusivity in Higher Education (ULIIHE) and Associate Professor Dr Paul Ian Campbell and partly funded by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education.

It aims to improve, develop and progress the levels of racial literacy and understanding of racial inequities in assessment among teaching staff.

The guidance also aims to improve students from minority-ethnic backgrounds’ experiences of assessment and foster a reduction in the race award gap in student outcomes in assessment.

RIPIAG was piloted on seven modules across three HE Providers in the UK and on 175 undergraduate students over the academic years 2020/21 and 2021/22.

The latest assessment of the guidance has found that RIPIAG has been highly effective as a process for advancing teaching practitioners of all backgrounds, career stages and disciplines’ understandings of how, where and the range of racial inequalities that can manifest in HE.

It also determined that the RIPIAG had a positive and transformative effect on enhancing Black, South Asian and White undergraduate students’ levels of assessment literacy and comprehension.

The assessment also found that the implementation of the guidance boosted confidence and reduced the stress of students.

However, the assessment did find that although RIPIAG implementation was effective at mitigating the general race-based inequities that exist in HE assessment, it is less effective for mitigating the anti-Black inequities that are found to exist across the sector.

The assessment has made the recommendation that to eradicate the race award gap, the sector needs to employ interventions aimed at eradicating the general exclusions in assessment and related practice that impacts students of colour in addition to interventions that specifically address the wider barriers in HE that negatively impact specifically on Black students.

Dr Paul Ian Campbell, said: “This is a landmark project, which is the first of its kind to provide data on the positive effects that addressing barriers in assessment can have on the educative experiences of students of colour and all students more widely.

“Importantly, it gives us, as a sector, a clearer understanding of what works for making HE work more equitably for all of our students, regardless of their backgrounds.“

An Evaluation of the Racially Inclusive Practice in Assessment Guidance Intervention on Students’ and Staff’s Experiences of Assessment in HE: A Multi-University Case Study has been written by Dr Paul Ian Campbell and Dr Benjamin Duke. The study can be found here.