Andy Valencia, Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, Camberwell College of Arts. Photographer: Alys Tomlinson
Gaps in attainment persist for specific student groups in higher education, and historically similar gaps have also persisted at further education level. UAL’s Foundation courses have, however, made significant progress in recent years in narrowing their gaps through a range of interventions and shifts in practice.
UAL’s Head of Further Education, Angela Drisdale-Gordon, describes several of these in a new case study on the university’s Addressing Inclusive Attainment webpage. The case study includes a series of prompts for HE staff to reflect on and develop their practices, and take action to address the undergraduate attainment gaps.
“The session was very helpful, the idea of a fixed and a growth mindset is a simple idea but very effective.”
Andrew Slatter Senior Lecturer, Contextual and Theoretical Studies
Coordinator Year 1
Graphic Design Communication Programme, LCC
The first Changing Mindsets staff workshops have been run across the three colleges – CSM, Camberwell and LCC. Academics have had the opportunity to interrogate Growth Mindset Theory – the belief that ability can be developed through effort and by embracing challenge – and apply this to their own pedagogic practice.
At LCC’s recent event, the Graphic Media Design Team discussed Carol Dweck’s research, that growth mindsets can have a profound impact on motivation, resilience and a sense of belonging. They applied the theory to challenge, learning, effort and failure and related this to the Creative Attributes Framework to design a learning and teaching activity for their course.
The team were asked to identify areas of their own practice that they had improved at over time and to consider their own personal learning styles. They designed growth mindset tool kits that innovatively utilised digital approaches to learning and proposed spaces for reading, discussion and curriculum design.
We were delighted to welcome Tracey Waller, Course Leader, BA Graphic Design at Camberwell, who delivered a fascinating presentation on the assessment methodology she is piloting. She demonstrated how, with a growth mindset, moments of risk and failure can become a space for learning, opportunity and collaboration for students and staff whilst improving attainment.
We’re looking forward to the next workshops and will be adding dates to the events pages for you to check. Keep reading the Changing Mindsets blog for more information.
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Paunesku, D., Walton, G. M., Romero, C., Smith, E. N., Yeager, D. S., & Dweck, C. S. (2015). Mind-set interventions are a scalable treatment for academic underachievement. Psychological science, 26(6), 784-793.
Tabernero, C., & Wood, R. E. (1999). Implicit theories versus the social construal of ability in self-regulation and performance on a complex task. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.
Yeager, D. S., Walton, G. M., Brady, S. T., Akcinar, E. N., Paunesku, D., Keane, L., & Gomez, E. M. (2016). Teaching a lay theory before college narrows achievement gaps at scale. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(24), E3341-E3348.
Yeager, D. S., Romero, C., Paunesku, D., Hulleman, C. S., Schneider, B., Hinojosa, C., … & Trott, J. (2016). Using design thinking to improve psychological interventions: The case of the growth mindset during the transition to high school. Journal of educational psychology, 108(3), 374.
In August 2016 UAL initiated Learning for All, our programme for addressing attainment inequalities that exist for certain student groups. These inequalities have been persistent and will remain unless we actively address them. As part of Learning for All, the Teaching and Learning Exchange is supporting staff to review and develop their practices to be more inclusive.
Lucy Panesar joined the Exchange at the start of 2017 as an Educational Developer (Diversity and Inclusion) and leads on the development of new Inclusive Attainment resources to support UAL staff with understanding and addressing attainment inequalities in their areas of practice.
The new Inclusive Attainment online resource contains key reference materials for understanding attainment inequalities (including a four-step process to address attainment), an evolving bank of case studies on interventions already made by UAL staff to address attainment, key contacts and staff development opportunities. It’s growing and evolving so do check back to see what’s new.
An Inclusive Attainment workshop, following the same four-step process, has been delivered by Lucy and Terry Finnigan (LCF Head of Attainment) to over 300 staff (so far) with very positive feedback. This will run again three times during the 2017/18 academic year, offering staff the opportunity to learn more about the causes of differential attainment, and the chance to collectively develop strategies to address this. Book your place now.
The two year, HEFCE funded Changing Mindsets project launches at UAL in mid-September 2017, focusing on interventions to close the attainment differentials of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) and working class students.
The project is led by academics at the University of Portsmouth and will be run as a series of student and staff workshops at Canterbury Christ Church University, University of Brighton and the University of Winchester, as well as UAL. Professor Susan Orr, UAL Dean of Learning, Teaching and Enhancement is the UAL project lead.
Changing Mindsets will involve around 5,200 university students and 800 university staff. At UAL, 715 students and 100 staff at Camberwell, CSM and LCC will be participating in the first year of the study. The first workshops for invited staff will take place from mid-September onwards.
Changing Mindsets aims to address the awarding gap and improve attainment for all students by building growth mindsets in both students and staff. A growth mindset is the belief that ability develops through effort and by embracing challenge.
Based on Dweck’s implicit theories of intelligence, and learning from UAL’s Breaking Bias staff development module, the workshops will address the barriers to learning created by stereotype threat (Osborne, 2007) and implicit bias (Staats, 2014). A growth mindset has been shown to challenge the self-limiting identities and other issues that stereotypes and biases can create in peer interactions, staff expectations and teaching and assessment approaches.
Want to know more?
You can find out more about the project on the Portsmouth University Changing Mindsets blog and follow @MindsetsProject on Twitter.
And, of course, bookmark this page to keep up to date with progress at UAL.