TASO has today launched a working version of its new report, a rapid-evidence review on interventions and activities carried out by higher education providers (HEPs) to raise the attainment of school-age students.

Earlier this year, the Office for Students (OfS) called for universities and other HEPs to do more to raise the academic attainment of school students through widening participation (WP) activities. Evidence shows that academic achievement is the most important predictor of university progression (Crawford, 2014; Crawford et al., 2016). Yet there are persistent equality gaps in GCSE attainment. What’s more, many working within the sector are unclear about what attainment-raising activities should be prioritised and where efforts should be focused.

The report draws on Anthony’s (2019) research and has been developed to help the sector further understand:

  • what interventions HEPs are currently delivering to support improvements in attainment for school-aged students (both primary and secondary);
  • the extent to which these interventions have been evaluated and the quality of this evaluation;
  • how TASO and the HE sector could enhance the evidence-base in future to help reduce attainment gaps.

This report provides a brief outline of the literature (including UK-based and international studies) and sets out a typology of different interventions, assessing the strength and limitations of the evidence base.

The report has been published as a working paper, meaning that updates may be made following discussion and consultation with the sector. This has been done partly to ensure HEPs have this evidence to refer to when making variations to their Access & Participation plans which are due imminently.

Read the full report here.

Sign up for our upcoming webinar ‘Exploring the evidence on attainment-raising activities conducted by Higher Education Providers (HEPs)’.