Improving Learning by Widening Participation in Higher Education: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Improving Learning by Widening Participation in Higher Education

1st Edition

Edited by Miriam David, Ann-Marie Bathmaker, Gill Crozier, Pauline Davis, Hubert Ertl, Alison Fuller, Geoff Hayward, Sue Heath, Chris Hockings, Gareth Parry, Diane Reay, Anna Vignoles, Julian Williams


266 pages

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Improving Learning by Widening Participation in Higher Education presents a strong and coherent rationale for improving learning for diverse students from a range of socio-economic, ethnic/racial and gender backgrounds within higher education, and for adults across the life course.

Edited by Miriam David, the Associate Director of the ESRC’s highly successful Teaching and Learning Research Programme, with contributions from the seven projects on Widening Participation in Higher Education (viz Gill Crozier and Diane Reay; Chris Hockings; Alison Fuller and Sue Heath; Anna Vignoles; Geoff Hayward and Hubert Ertl; Julian Williams and Pauline Davis; Gareth Parry and Ann-Marie Bathmaker), this book provides clear and comprehensive research evidence on the policies, processes, pedagogies and practices of widening or increasing participation in higher education. This evidence is situated within the contexts of changing individual and institutional circumstances across the life course, and wider international transformations of higher education in relation to the global knowledge economy.

Improving Learning by Widening Participation in Higher Education also considers:

  • the changing UK policy contexts of post-compulsory education;
  • how socio-economically disadvantaged students – raced and gendered – fare through schools and into post-compulsory education;
  • the kinds of academic and vocational courses, including Maths, undertaken;
  • the changing forms of institutional and pedagogic practices within higher education;
  • how adults view the role of higher education in their lives.

This book, based upon both qualitative studies and quantitative datasets, offers a rare insight into the overall implications for current and future policy and will provide a springboard for further research and debate. It will appeal both to policy-makers and practitioners, as well as students within higher education.

Table of Contents

Selected Contents: Series Preface by Andrew Pollard Part 1 – What are the issues? CHAPTER 1: Miriam David Introduction to the dilemmas of Widening Participation in Higher Education Part 2: What does the research tell us? CHAPTER 2: Gareth Parry Policy contexts: Differentiation, competition and policies for widening participation CHAPTER 3: Access, participation and diversity questions in relation to different forms of post-compulsory further and higher education (FHEs) arranged in 4 sections: Section 1. Anna Vignoles and Claire Crawford: The importance of prior educational experiences Section 2. Gill Crozier, Diane Reay and John Clayton: The Socio-Cultural and Learning Experiences of Working Class Students in Higher Education Section 3. Hubert Ertl, Geoff Hayward, Michael Hoelscher: Learners’ transition from Vocational Education and Training to Higher Education Section 4 Ann-Marie Bathmaker: Seamlessness or separation: negotiating further and higher education boundaries in dual sector institutions CHAPTER 4: Pedagogies for social diversity and difference (arranged in two sections) Section 1. Chris Hockings, Sandra Cooke and Marion Bowl: Learning and teaching in two universities within the context of increasing student diversity – complexity, contradictions and challenges Section 2. Julian Williams, Laura Black, Pauline Davis, Paul Hernandez-Martinez, Graeme Hutcheson, Sue Nicholson, Maria Pampaka and Geoff Wake: Keeping open the door to mathematically-demanding programmes in further and higher education: a cultural model of value CHAPTER 5: Outcomes in terms of age-based participation (arranged in two sections) Section 1: Anna Vignoles and Nattavudh Powdthavee: Diversity of experiences in higher education Section 2: Alison Fuller and Sue Heath: Educational decision-making, social networks and the new widening participation Part 3: What are the overall implications both for policy and for research? CHAPTER 6: Miriam David (with contributions from Geoff Hayward and Hubert Ertl, section 3): Conclusions: What are the overall findings and implications for evidence-based policies on fair access and widening participation? CHAPTER 7: Miriam David (with contributions from Gill Crozier, Geoff Hayward and Hubert Ertl, Julian Williams and colleagues, and Chris Hockings): How do we improve learning by widening participation in HE: institutional practices and pedagogies for social diversity? APPENDICES ON METHODOLOGIES 1. Gareth Parry 2. Anna Vignoles 3. Gill Crozier 4. Geoff Hayward 5. Julian Williams 6. Chris Hockings 7. Alison Fuller

About the Editors

Miriam David is Professor of Sociology of Education and Associate Director (Higher Education) of the ESRC’s Teaching and Learning Research Programme at the Institute of Education, University of London.

About the Series

Improving Learning

The Improving Learning series showcases findings from projects within ESRC’s Teaching and Learning Research Programme (TLRP) – the UK’s largest ever coordinated educational research initiative. Each book is explicitly designed to support ‘evidence-informed’ decisions in educational practice and policy-making. In particular, they combine rigorous social and educational science with high awareness of the significance of the issues being researched.



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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Research