Addressing the Attainment Gap: Investigating Gaps in Personal Tutoring Provision


The department of Biochemical Engineering, UCL, is one of the smallest departments in the faculty of Engineering Sciences, with an average annual intake of approximately 40 undergraduate students on the BEng/MEng programmes. Of that intake, around a third tend to be home students and of that, 40% identify as BAME (black and ethnic minority). With such small numbers, the attainment gap has been seen to fluctuate largely, demonstrating inconsistencies year on year. With relatively high staff to BAME student ratios, it begs the question - can greater staff effort help close the attainment gap consistently? A number of reports have shown the link between inclusivity through personal tutoring and student performance so this project investigates departmental personal tutoring provision, specifically aiming to see if there are any gaps within it that can be bridged through mechanisms that include upskilling personal tutors and cohort building for peer support and finally, its link to academic performance. It uses a phased approach: Phase 1 – survey data collection reflecting student perceptions on personal tutoring. Phase 2 – focus groups/interviews with BAME students. Phase 3 – observations of external practices. Phase 4 – upskilling of personal tutors and observing academic performance. The project is currently coming to the end of phase 1 and so far results indicate that rapport building and reviewing of academic results with personal tutors are desired by the collective cohorts. Phase 2 will look more specifically into the needs of BAME students as a means to address the attainment gap.

Author Information
Mauryn C. Nweke, University College London, United Kingdom
Michael Sulu, University College London, United Kingdom

Paper Information
Conference: BCE2023
Stream: Learning Experiences

This paper is part of the BCE2023 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Nweke M., & Sulu M. (2023) Addressing the Attainment Gap: Investigating Gaps in Personal Tutoring Provision ISSN: 2435-9467 – The Barcelona Conference on Education 2023: Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon