Learning and teaching

Awarding Gap FAQ

Look at our Frequently Asked Questions. See what work has been done and how we measure what we do.

1. What is the VA-metric behind the BAME awarding gap?

The Value-Added (VA) metric is a  measure which illustrates the differences between the expected level of attainment, and the actual level of attainment. The expectation is based on their entry qualifications and subjects. Furthermore, the VA shows the differences in attainment between different demographic groups, especially between BAME and White students.

2. Does the VA measure illustrate the awarding gap for all degree classifications?

No, the data on the VA dashboard currently displays the grade attainment at either 1st or 2:1 for home students who are studying in the UK and who completed either an undergraduate or an integrated masters.

3. How is a student's Value-Added data calculated?

The methodology used to calculate Value Added scores uses data supplied by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) alongside a technique similar to the one used as part of the Guardian league table. By aggregating data for students who have completed degrees at the University of Greenwich and comparable students across the country, we can calculate the probability that each student will achieve a 1st or 2:1 degree.

4. What is the Population Definition?

They are home students who studied full time and have been awarded a first degree (including integrated masters) and are studying in the UK. 

HESA's Full Person Equivalent (FPE) is used to ensure that students studying for joint honours degrees are allocated to the subject areas depending on the proportion studied.

5. Which demographic groups are covered in the VA dashboard?

Primarily, the VA dashboard illustrates the difference in attainment between Black and Minority Ethnic and White students, but there are data available for other student characteristics, e.g. socio-economic, disabilities and gender.

6. Is there an awarding gap in all programmes?

Some programmes have students achieving as well as expected or show no significant differences between the degree classifications achieved by different demographic groups. However, there is an overall difference between the outcomes of White a BAME students in terms of overall degree classification.

7. Why are the expectations set for the BAME and the White students who are on the same course different?

The expected degree outcome for any group of students is based on their subject of study and entry qualifications. For students on a particular programme, the subject of study will be identical, however the entry qualifications could be different. For instance, sector data shows that students with higher entry tariff points achieve firsts and 2:1s at a higher rate than those with lower entry tariff points, so if two groups of Greenwich students have differing entry tariffs then the expected outcomes for each group will be different.

8. What are the differences in data between the Awarding Gap and Module Gap?

The awarding gap is the difference between the rate at which Greenwich students achieve 1sts and 2:1s and the rate we might expect them to achieve these outcomes based on sector averages, controlling for subject of study and entry qualifications. The module gap is simply the difference between average module marks for BAME and white students, with no reference to expectation or sector averages.

9. Where can the data be accessed?

The 'Value-Added' dashboard is available to view in the dashboard repository.

10. What data are available?

The Value-Added Attainment gap data are available at Faculty, Department, Programme level. In addition, the module gap has been recently added to the VA Dashboard.

11. Why is it important for Greenwich to address the BAME awarding Gap?

The university is committed to ensuring that all students are able to reach their full potential.

12. How does the BAME awarding gap fit within Greenwich Strategic Plan 2017-22?

There is are specific Key Performance Indicators in the strategic plan concerned with increasing the overall proportion of students gaining either 1st or 2:1 and closing the awarding gap. Departments and Schools are required to set targets and identify specific actions designed to close any attainment gaps as part of annual planning and review.

13. What has already been done at Greenwich to close the awarding gap?

You can find more in-depth information on our Attainment Gap Project webpage:

  • Working with Partner Institutions as part of an Office for Students (OfS) (previously known as HEFCE) catalyst project which aims to reduce the BAME awarding Gap.
  • Rolled out the Value Added (VA) Score system as the key metric and applied to Greenwich specific attainment data.
  • Delivered training and presentations to our colleagues from academic and professional services and students.
  • Launched the Community of Practice, a peer-support network for our academic colleagues and organised networking events like 'Lunch & Learn'.
  • With the help of Student Union, we have recruited Curriculum Consultants.

14. Are other universities committed to close the awarding gap?

As this is a part of the Office for Students (OfS) catalyst project, we work closely with Kingston, University of Wolverhampton, University of Hertfordshire, De Montfort University and UCL.

15. I am a programme leader, what difference can I make?

As Programme Leader, you can work with teams to implement the inclusive curriculum framework. In addition, you can also ensure that a discussion about actions to address any awarding gaps is a standing item on programme team meeting agendas.

When undertaking curriculum review, you can ensure that the awarding gap data is considered and actions are taken, including advice and guidance from Curriculum Consultants to close any gaps.  We also recommend to routinely review VA data and student feedback to ensure the curriculum is made fully inclusive.

16. I am a module leader/ visiting lecturer/ teaching assistant/… what difference can I make?

As a module leader, you can work with colleagues to apply the Inclusive Curriculum Framework and recommendations to modules. The 'ICF Module Application' has been specifically designed for this. Module leaders should take responsibly for working with their students to co-create appropriate and meaningful assessment tasks.

17. Aren't students grade attainment also affected by other factors like entry qualifications and travel distance?

Yes, there are other factors that could contribute the grade attainment. However, even when controlling for these other variables, the data still shows that there is an awarding gap on many programmes between BAME and White students.

18. What support is available for staff who are addressing the BAME awarding gap?

There are 'Champions' in each department who will support staff. Heads of Department, Directors of Student Experience and Directors of Learning and Teaching also offer support and guidance and the project team is keen to help.

The Students' Union is keen to provide advice and guidance especially by enabling the Student Curriculum Consultants to provide advice and guidance when programmes are being reviewed.

Also, we also run events and workshop as part of our Community of Practice which is open to all.