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A new composite measure of ethnic diversity: investigating the controversy over minority ethnic recruitment at Oxford and Cambridge universities

A new composite measure of ethnic diversity: investigating the controversy over minority ethnic recruitment at Oxford and Cambridge universities
A new composite measure of ethnic diversity: investigating the controversy over minority ethnic recruitment at Oxford and Cambridge universities
Measuring ethnic diversity currently amounts simply to counting ethnicities. This makes it impossible to correlate with achievement, to track changes over time or to compare institutions in a meaningful way. It is not clear, for example, whether it is more diverse to have many ethnicities with a large majority in one or two categories, or to have fewer ethnicities with a larger proportion in each. This paper is not about race per se, but develops indices from cryptography and ecology to solve the problem of measuring diversity properly. Using data from Freedom of Information requests and university admissions offices, it analyzes the ethnic diversity of undergraduate recruitment at Oxford and Cambridge universities over the past ten years to resolve one of the most controversial issues in higher education today. It finds that both Oxford and Cambridge universities have increased ethnic diversity by more than 25% over the last decade, but that the problem of under-recruitment of Black UK students remains. The paper is an important contribution to research methodology, with clear applications in the field of school effectiveness, and informs the debate on social justice in education, particularly in a period of significant demographic change across Europe.
higher education, ethnic diversity, Oxbridge admissions
0141-1926
Kelly, Anthony
1facbd39-0f75-49ee-9d58-d56b74c6debd
Kelly, Anthony
1facbd39-0f75-49ee-9d58-d56b74c6debd

Kelly, Anthony (2018) A new composite measure of ethnic diversity: investigating the controversy over minority ethnic recruitment at Oxford and Cambridge universities. British Educational Research Journal. (doi:10.1002/berj.3482).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Measuring ethnic diversity currently amounts simply to counting ethnicities. This makes it impossible to correlate with achievement, to track changes over time or to compare institutions in a meaningful way. It is not clear, for example, whether it is more diverse to have many ethnicities with a large majority in one or two categories, or to have fewer ethnicities with a larger proportion in each. This paper is not about race per se, but develops indices from cryptography and ecology to solve the problem of measuring diversity properly. Using data from Freedom of Information requests and university admissions offices, it analyzes the ethnic diversity of undergraduate recruitment at Oxford and Cambridge universities over the past ten years to resolve one of the most controversial issues in higher education today. It finds that both Oxford and Cambridge universities have increased ethnic diversity by more than 25% over the last decade, but that the problem of under-recruitment of Black UK students remains. The paper is an important contribution to research methodology, with clear applications in the field of school effectiveness, and informs the debate on social justice in education, particularly in a period of significant demographic change across Europe.

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BERJ paper Oxbridge diversity - Accepted Manuscript
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 7 September 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 10 October 2018
Keywords: higher education, ethnic diversity, Oxbridge admissions

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 423463
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/423463
ISSN: 0141-1926
PURE UUID: 60f6674b-a06c-4858-8fb7-630d466b8807
ORCID for Anthony Kelly: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-4664-8585

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 24 Sep 2018 16:30
Last modified: 10 Dec 2019 01:47

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