ERIC Number: EJ721829
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Nov-1
Reference Count: 17
Who Benefits from Widening Participation? A Study of Targeting in the South West of England
Hatt, Sue; Baxter, Arthur; Tate, Jim
Journal of Further & Higher Education, v29 n4 p341-351 Nov 2005
As the Aimhigher programme is a targeted initiative, partnerships have to find ways of locating groups that are under-represented in higher education (HE) and selecting participants for interventions. If the selection criteria are not robust, resources will be misdirected, while overly narrow indicators can exclude legitimate participants and risk stigmatizing beneficiaries. Striking the right balance is difficult but essential if the programme is to be effective. This article explores the ways in which the Aimhigher partnerships in the South West of England have targeted participants and considers the extent to which their approach has directed the programme towards its intended beneficiaries. Using dual criteria of potential to benefit from HE and no parental experience of HE, these partnerships worked with schools to identify school students to take part in their activities. Drawing on qualitative and quantitative data about a sample of 557 school students, 80% had no parental background in HE and 83% achieved five or more A*?Cs at GCSE. Although the criteria for selection were being accurately operationalized, only a third of the sample were from socio-economic groups IIIm, IV and V that have been identified as underrepresented in HE. Nevertheless, the programme was reaching those without parental experience of HE who might need more support to progress to HE. In addition, those from manual backgrounds were most likely to have obtained most exposure to the programme through multiple interventions. This evidence suggests that the Aimhigher programme in the South West is indeed reaching its prime target group.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Parent Background, Admission Criteria, Academic Achievement, Postsecondary Education, Intervention, Selective Admission, College Preparation, High School Students
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)