Supporting success for widening participation students

Supporting success for widening participation students entering university.

School: Edinburgh Medical School

Team Members: Avril Dewar,  David Hope, Alan Jaap


Widening participation (WP) is an important moral and legal priority. However, some groups remain significantly under-represented in higher education. The University of Edinburgh has already made significant progress in increasing the numbers of WP admissions, meeting the Commission for Widening Access targets early. However, more work can be done to identify where support can be targeted for WP groups.

We will examine applications to medical school within the context of WP – who succeeds, who fails, and why. We will then examine performance over early undergraduate medical education to identify whether WP applicants are being offered places at an appropriate rate. If WP applicants excel or encounter greater difficulty during early study, this should lead to policy changes around offers to study and early support for WP students. The output of this work will be a summary of the association between WP applications (and associated indicators of likely success or failure) and performance during the early years of medical school. We will be able to highlight particular types of assessment on which WP applicants perform differently to non-WP applicants, and identify the likely impact of any changes to the offers process.

While focused on Edinburgh Medical School, the use of standardised analysis scripts, and detailed process documents, would allow interested groups from academic services and governance and strategic planning to reproduce the work across all schools or on a case-by-case basis. We will provide support where necessary to do this.

Final project report

Download the final project report (PDF)