Differential attainment (DA) is a term used to describe differences in the average performance of different groups with and without protected characteristics.
It is important to address this as the presence of DA suggests we may not be getting the best out of our diverse workforce, which is particularly problematic when the state of the workforce directly affects the health of the nation.
The causes of DA are poorly understood and complex, but thought to be caused by factors in four categories:
curricula, teaching, learning and assessment
trainee relationships at work
psychosocial and identity factors
Risk factors for DA are related to:
poorer relationships with seniors
problems assimilating within a new culture/working environment
perceptions of/experiences of unconscious bias
Trainers can reduce DA by taking time to get to know their trainees to increase trust, understanding, and confidence in the trainees in everyday practice.
Sponsorship, mentorship and aspirational/successful role models can motivate trainees, help them feel they fit in, and demonstrate practical ways of achieving their goals.
Deaneries, educational supervisors and peer-to-peer support can help trainees deal with bullying, racism and health problems. It can also help to identify early those trainees that may require additional support in any of the four categories contributing to DA.