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The role of feedback in the under-attainment of ethnic minority students: evidence from distance education

Richardson, J. T. E., Alden Rivers, B. and Whitelock, D. (2015) The role of feedback in the under-attainment of ethnic minority students: evidence from distance education. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education. 40(4), pp. 557-573. 0260-2938.

Item Type: Article
Abstract: In UK higher education, the attainment of ethnic minority students is lower than that of white students, and this remains the case when differences in entry qualifications have been taken into account. The present study investigated whether the under-attainment of ethnic minority students might be due to the nature of the feedback that they received for their assignments. The assignments submitted by 470 ethnic minority and 470 matched white students taking a distance- learning course were compared using a computer system, Open Mentor, to categorise the feedback given by tutors based on a scheme devised by Bales. Asian and black students and students of mixed ethnicity obtained lower marks for their assignments than did the white students. However, there were only small differences between the ethnic minority students and the white students in terms of the pattern of feedback that they received, and these disappeared when the marks that they had received for their assignments had been taken into account. It is concluded that students from all ethnic groups received feedback that was commensurate with their marks, and that the origins of the attainment gap in ethnic minority students in UK higher education must be sought elsewhere.
Additional Information: A pre-publication version of this article was made available electronically by the publisher on 21 July 2014
Uncontrolled Keywords: Attainment, distance education, ethnicity, feedback
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of Education > LC1390 Education of special classes of persons
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education > LB2395.7 Internet in higher education. Web-based instruction. Educational technology
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2366 College examinations. Assessment
Creators: Richardson, John T E, Alden Rivers, Bethany and Whitelock, Denise
Publisher: Routledge
Faculties, Divisions and Institutes: University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > Faculty of Education & Humanities
University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > Research Centre > Institute of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education
Date: 2015
Date Type: Publication
Page Range: pp. 557-573
Journal or Publication Title: Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education
Volume: 40
Number: 4
Language: English
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2014.938317
ISSN: 0260-2938
Status: Published / Disseminated
Refereed: Yes
URI: http://nectar.northampton.ac.uk/id/eprint/6841

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