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Economics' Claire Crawford to lead study to improve university outreach

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Economics' Claire Crawford to lead study to improve university outreach

A study commissioned by the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) and led by Dr Claire Crawford will investigate how universities and colleges currently evaluate outreach schemes to provide guidance on ‘best practice’ evaluation methods, and practical suggestions on how institutions make their outreach schemes more effective.

The team is comprised of researchers from the Universities of Warwick and York alongside other partner institutions with the aim of improving understanding of the impact of outreach on access to higher education for students from disadvantaged groups and to improve evaluation practice across the sector. These will be informed by the diversity of current practice within the sector and will be suitable for use by all institutions and applicable irrespective of the current stage of development or implementation of their outreach schemes.

Universities are spending a growing amount of time and resources trying to encourage more disadvantaged students to access higher education. But the evidence on whether these efforts have succeeded is woefully thin. This project offers an opportunity to better understand 'what works' in terms of outreach initiatives. Our hope is that by bringing together academics and practitioners from a range of institutions, the guidance we produce will be pragmatic and practical, but still be underpinned by rigorous methods, giving institutions the tools to produce robust evaluations of their own outreach schemes in future.
Dr. Claire Crawford - Department of Economics, University of Warwick

The project is funded by OFFA and the Sutton Trust. The Sutton Trust is a foundation set up in 1997, dedicated to improving social mobility through education. It has published over 170 research studies and funded and evaluated programmes that have helped hundreds of thousands of young people of all ages, from early years through to access to the professions.