The increase in student diversity, legislative changes and shift towards the social model of disability has led to greater emphasis on inclusive curricula within Higher Education (HE). Whilst there are good examples for changes in assessment, delivery and student support, specific challenges faced by Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics students in relation to laboratory teaching are less well understood. A questionnaire approach was used to determine barriers that students face within laboratory teaching. Questionnaire invitations were distributed by email to undergraduate students at institutions within the United Kingdom with a total of 232 responses. Results indicated a lower sense of belonging for female students and those with a disability. Differences between ethnic groups could not be identified due to low numbers of Black Asian, Minority Ethnic students, which highlights broader issues of participation in STEM subjects. Prior experience of students in relation to the number of labs, rather than subject, was also important, emphasising the critical link between school and HE. Communication of information was critical for learning with students often requiring multiple methods; timing and structure of this were important. A more inclusive lab environment can be developed through the use of online support, better structuring of labs and changes to assessment.
- mental health
- mature students