SRA drafts in Exeter Uni to probe exam ‘attainment gap’

Deep dive prompted by ‘persistent difference’ in outcomes between ethnic teams

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has called on academics from the University of Exeter in a bid to further its understanding around the so-called ‘attainment gap’ between Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) college students in authorized skilled assessments.

Exeter’s Faculties of Regulation and Enterprise will have a look at the components driving the “persistent difference” in exam outcomes by ethnicity in the UK and different nations.

The analysis, led by Professor Greta Bosch, will contain measuring the attainment hole in a spread {of professional} companies {qualifications}; figuring out the long-lasting and intersectional causes of the attainment hole in skilled companies qualification; exploring the place we will be taught classes from different nations and sectors; and understanding the place we will make modifications to assist shut the hole.

The transfer follows the publication of the regulator’s annual eduction and coaching report, that confirmed nearly 68% of white college students efficiently accomplished the Authorized Follow Course (LPC), in contrast with 49% Asian and 36% of Black college students. The report additional discovered that white college students have been considerably extra possible to obtain distinctions.

Commenting on the commissioning of the analysis, which is able to run till the tip of 2023, the SRA’s chief government Paul Philip stated: “We know that there is a longstanding picture of different outcomes for candidates from different ethnicities in legal qualifications and more widely. The solicitor profession needs to reflect the diverse society that it serves so we want to know why and what the barriers are.”

He added:

“This research is the first part in that process. By finding out why certain groups don’t do so well in professional assessments, we can increase understanding and look at how best to work with others to address some of the factors, helping to close the attainment gap. It’s not a problem that is unique to the solicitor profession. The attainment gap is found in other types of qualifications too, so the research should produce insights that are useful well beyond the legal market.”

The regulator beforehand discovered as a part of a pilot that in the primary stage of the Solicitors Qualifying Exam, referred to as SQE1, white candidates typically carried out higher than BAME candidates. In response, the SRA stated all questions will probably be reviewed for “cultural bias” in order that BAME college students are usually not deprived.

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