University of Derby

Student Attainment Project

Led by the University of Derby, this project aims to scale up the University's approach to closing attainment gaps for different groups of students in collaboration with Southampton Solent University and the University of West London.

This project builds on the current Student Attainment Project (SAP) at the University of Derby (UoD) which is working to close the black and minority ethnic (BME) attainment gap.

The SAP has drawn on the work of the Disparities in Student Attainment project (DISA) which was led by the Universities of Coventry and Wolverhampton. Research from DISA, confirmed by the ‘Causes of Differences in Student Outcomes’ report by King's College (2015), indicates that there is no single factor that drives disparities in student attainment and that the domains of curricula and learning, relationships, cultural and social capital and psychosocial identity are important in shaping student experience and outcomes for students.

University of Derby crime scene house
University of Derby: crime scene house

Working in partnership with Southampton Solent University and the University of West London, the HEFCE Catalyst Fund Student Attainment Project 2 (SAP2) aims to:

  • work with partner higher education providers to validate that the adoption of the SAP approach can deliver similar benefits in other institutions
  • extend the SAP methodology so as to target attainment gaps in other contexts (for example: gender; disability; socio-economic background) in order to assess its effectiveness in these contexts
  • provide evidence as to the optimal means of ensuring the sustainability of outcomes within institutions.

Key activities the project partners are undertaking through the SAP2 include:

  • Developing a framework for module selection
  • Deploying over two stages a range of inclusive interventions at module level
  • Undertaking analysis of module level attainment data to identify interventions demonstrating benefit in closing attainment gaps for different groups of students
  • Exploring and identifying where institutional working practices and policies best support inclusive interventions and sustainability of the approach
  • A project evaluation through the International Centre for Guidance Studies, University of Derby
  • Dissemination, including through University of Derby Online (UDOL).

Catalyst funding 

Total project funding  £683,074
Project contact name Helen Hathaway 
Project contact email [email protected]
Project contact telephone 01332 593676
Project website

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