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Sue Purnell Kirsty Hooper University of Liverpool So long, Auf Weidershen, Adios : Issues in the retention of commuter Students in Language and Area Studies.

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Presentation on theme: "Sue Purnell Kirsty Hooper University of Liverpool So long, Auf Weidershen, Adios : Issues in the retention of commuter Students in Language and Area Studies."— Presentation transcript:

1 Sue Purnell Kirsty Hooper University of Liverpool So long, Auf Weidershen, Adios : Issues in the retention of commuter Students in Language and Area Studies

2 O UTLINE Context Profile Research project Transition Cycle Action Results Discussion Next steps

3 C ONTEXT University of Liverpool –A Russell Group University School of Languages, Culture and Area Studies (SOCLAS) Relatively high attrition in a University with good retention stats

4 W HO ARE THEY, ‘ LOS DESAPARECIDOS ’? Almost 30% attrition: High % of ‘local’ students –Liverpool and the North West Commuter students are over- represented. They are also often First in family Mature (21+) Coming in through Widening Participation Many enrolled in Joint Honours

5 R ESEARCH PROJECT We want to know: Why is this happening? Who are the most at risk? Where in the transition cycle are the major problems? Action research project in the first year Hispanic Studies programme, with guidance /advice from Ed Dev

6 CONTEXT Preparation Phases 1 & 5 Promises Information Expectations Encounter Phase 2 Academic Induction Social Orientation Clarity of Purpose Adjustment Phase 3 Learning Communities Time on Task Assessment Stabilisation Phase 4 Engagement Belonging Academic competence The Student & The University (Purnell, 2002) The Transition Cycle

7 A CTION R ESEARCH : F IRST S TEPS Discussion with staff/students Issues identified that might be leading to attrition Changes to induction On-line Questionnaire (Nov 2007) All first year Hispanic Studies students Analysis continues

8 Q UESTIONNAIRE R ESULTS - 48 RESPONDENTS IN TOTAL General 55% living in Halls of Residence, 37% at home, 8% in a flat 25% did NOT have a clear idea of what they would be studying, even after induction 29.4% did not know who to talk to if things were not clear 14.3% did not feel the assignment expectations were made clear 29.4% had considered giving up their studies Those who had considered leaving (10/48) 30% live at home 50% came to Liverpool because it was close to home 50/50 split – those who felt they had a clear idea of what to expect, and those who didn’t

9 Q UESTIONNAIRE R ESULTS Those who had considered leaving (continued) 90% felt their questions had been answered at induction BUT 30% still didn’t have a clear idea of the progress of the degree. 66.7% did not feel they had got to know others during induction How had their studies had gone? 44.4% had done better than expected 22% as expected 33.3% worse than expected 90% felt assignment requirements were clear, 75% now feel they have made friends 40% had not met with their personal tutor

10 D ISCUSSION Changes in the school curriculum Widening participation –lack of targeted support Expectation mismatch Challenges of being a ‘commuter student’ The role of induction in both social and academic integration

11 N EXT S TEPS More small group seminars Re-allocation of staff responsibilities: Year tutors, Mature students’ adviser Improvements to communication and timetabling Increased monitoring of attendance, and follow up of non-attenders On going improvements to induction Follow-up surveys Drop out rate so far in : 15%


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