Briefing Paper 1: Widening Participation Measures and Indicators (for College HE providers)


Action on Access and the Association of Colleges worked together to produce this briefing focusing on impacts and measures with relation to access and widening participation within College higher education students. This is the first in a series of four, to be published over the next few weeks.

Measures and indicators for targeting students and evaluating performance in respect of widening participation are challenging for most institutions. The recent AoC/AonA survey of 63 further education (FE) colleges indicated that a number of institutions, while employing a diversity of measures, were generally more comfortable with monitoring than targeting and evaluation.

Widening participation students are those students who are under-represented in higher education because they are subject to various forms of disadvantage. National measures
have been developed which aim to identify these students by proxy. This paper attempts to contextualise six key indicators currently in use and clarify what they measure and how they can be useful.

Further information: and

Andrew Rawson
Principal, Action on Access

National Coordination Team for Access and Widening Participation in Higher Education – the national provider of coordination and support for furthering widening participation and access to higher education in the UK.

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