‘Race’ and academic performance in international higher education: Black Africans in the UK


  • Solomon ZEWOLDE UEL




‘Race’, academic performance, international higher education, black Africans, assessment


Much UK higher education research routinely pinpoints the racialized nature of academic performance, but it often fails to even consider if racism contributes to such a pervasive racial or ethnic disparity. While much research in the area often focuses on comparing the attainment of home white and ethnic minority students, little attention is given to the experiences of black African international students (BAIS), particularly in UK higher education. Using semi-structured qualitative interviews, this study documents how ‘race’ shapes academic performance and achievement by exploring the experiences of 21 BAIS undergraduates studying in ten different universities in England. Factors identified, inter alia, include racism and discrimination, and the analysis challenges the narrative of assessment as neutral and objective technology that rewards merit, and lifts the voices of BAIS which are normally silent in the literature about international student experience.


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How to Cite

ZEWOLDE, S. (2022). ‘Race’ and academic performance in international higher education: Black Africans in the UK. Journal of Comparative & International Higher Education, 14(3a). https://doi.org/10.32674/jcihe.v14i3a.3976



Empirical Article