Coming from Behind: an investigation of learning issues in the process of widening participation in higher education

Grant type: Development (2000-08)
Round: January 2004
Amount awarded £2,000.00
Completed: April 2005
Leader(s): Dr Jenny Moon
Organisation: University of Exeter
Contact Email:
Address: Learning and Teaching Support Centre, Queen's Building, University of Exeter, EX4 4QH
Professor Bob Jones,
University Centre, Yeovil College, Yeovil, Somerset
Professor Bryan Brown
Partnerships Office, University of Bournemouth, Bournemouth
Start Date: 1 January 2004
End Date: 30 July 2004
Interim report received: 20 January 2009
Final report received: 18 November 2008

The government agenda to widen participation in higher education (HE) has many implications for learners, their teachers and the institutions involved - both in the higher education institutions and in further education colleges with HE provision. The proposal is particularly relevant to foundation degrees, where some students may complete with a qualification at level 2, while others progress to HE level 3 - an honours degree. The framing of the research is based on an assumption that the widening participation agenda means that students are coming into higher education with qualities of learning achievement that might be deemed to be below the traditional 'beginning in HE' levels. They may be adults or those with lower educational achievements. We are not limiting the study only to those students from lower social class backgrounds.

The question that this project addresses is the following: 'What are the characteristics of the learning of 'widening participation students'' that could inhibit their progress in a higher education environment? Specifically (a) what is it that we need to do in order to enable them rapidly to function at higher education levels, and (b) to progress to HE level 3 studies if they wish this?'