Widening Participation and the Admissions Process to Higher Education

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Abstract

The UK government is committed to the principle of providing a significant proportion of the UK population with a University level education. Included in this principle is the notion of inclusivity and access to Higher Education Institutions from all social and economic groups. The Higher Education Funding Council for England noted in 2006 a good response to this agenda from universities. “The commitment to Widening Participation in the culture, mission, and management of institutions is growing and should be carefully reinforced and nurtured.” (HEFCE, 2006). Whilst the intention and response to widening participation is good, the evidence of its success however is more limited. Some data has been generated by the Aim Higher programme, but on the whole “evidence for the impact of WP interventions on raising attainment and on access to institutions is weak.” (HEFCE, 2006).

There are practical issues in amassing relevant evidential data but there are theoretical difficulties too, particularly in establishing firm and causal connections between widening participation interventions and the way learners subsequently develop. The Product Design courses at the University of Brighton have chosen to operate a philosophy of widening participation through an applicant interview programme. In providing a sample of the results of the interview process and subsequent student performance, this paper aims to contribute to the body of evidence.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSociety for Research in Higher Education
Publication statusPublished - 9 Dec 2008

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    Morris, R., Katz, T., & Covill, D. (2008). Widening Participation and the Admissions Process to Higher Education. In Society for Research in Higher Education