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Using Data to Improve Student Retention and Success Sarah Broxton.

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1 Using Data to Improve Student Retention and Success Sarah Broxton

2 Overview About the University of Huddersfield, strategic position; Why we need the data – drivers for change; Application overview; A year in – what we’ve learnt; Next steps

3 UoH Institutional Performance Significant improvements made over last 5 year period: –Times Higher University of the Year! –19,500 students –Improving NSS scores –Increasing league table positions –Top 10 Employability –Times Higher Entrepreneurial University of the Year –Award winning estate

4 University of Huddersfield Strategic Position

5 University of Huddersfield Retention Record Total full-time first degree entrants Number who transfer to other UK HEI Number no longer in HE Percent no longer in HE (%) Bench-mark (%) 2007/ / / / /

6 Drivers for Change Strategic requirement to improve retention rates; Strategic requirement to improve institutional effectiveness and efficiency; Introduction of attendance monitoring system; Increased cohort sizes; Limited access/knowledge by staff about what data is available.

7 Drivers for Change Create own systems –Onerous and bureaucratic –Duplicates effort, associated version issues –Increasing risk of error Wider implications –Reputational impact –Financial impact –Social and ethical impact “The traditional ladder out of poverty is education. Access to university education is seen as countering social exclusion and poverty” (Quinn et al, 2005, p.1)

8 Starting Point – Where We Were Data is retrospective, informative, though limited Useful to be able to monitor student behaviour while they are still attending Early intervention –Sign post to most appropriate support services

9 Support Priority Students - Overview Profile leaver characteristics from previous year: Gender Age Entry Tariff Entry Quals Entry route Home Postcode Disability Ethnicity Apply to current first year cohort (2013/14) : Overlay Attendance Monitoring data OUTPUT: Report of students more likely to leave: Communicated to: Nominated staff within schools: Personal Tutors via Staff Portal / My Students

10 What Happens Next? Support Priority Student Get in touch If all ok, occasional check in Academic Issues – ASTs Other Issues – School or central support services Occasional check in

11 Benefits Provides targeted intelligence on where to focus initial attention Data available on the desktop to academic staff Facilitates proactive, early intervention – mitigates ‘crisis point’ Promotes transparency and accountability Improves communication between schools and services Creates further data for analysis Increases institutional intelligence on the retention issue

12 Evaluation CurrentSuspendedWithdrawn 2013/14 WD & S Grand Total 13/14 W & Susp 13/14 W & Susp as % of Total NON SPS % SPS % Grand Total % Withdrawal and Suspension Rates Comparing SPS Students to Population (to end May 2014) Population: Fulltime, undergraduate, first year home students

13 What we’ve learnt so far The technicalities are easy Organisational culture is the challenge –Feedback meetings with schools –Privacy and ethical issues

14 Next Steps Addition of behavioural indicators Increase transparency Training for colleagues Formal governance structure –Embedded within T&L strategy –Links with University Solicitor re DP –Collaboration and buy in from SU

15 Governance Student Support Steering Group Use of Data School and Central Student Support Internal Communications

16 Next Steps…. Addition of engagement indicators –Accuracy of AM data; –Library usage data; –Missed appointments; –VLE data; –Module assessment data Submission / Non-submission Results and grades –SU data

17 A word of caution…… Data provided is INDICATIVE It’s not PRESCRIPTIVE –Students identified will not necessarily leave –Students not identified will also leave An SPS student shares characteristics similar to other students who have left in the past; Based on evidence from previous years, these students MORE LIKELY to leave than students with different profile Provides starting point for engagement with students

18 Conclusion No silver bullet –Practice is institution specific –Everyone’s problem, all staff have a responsibility to support action to improve the student experience “In the final analysis, the key to successful student retention lies with the institution, in its faculty and staff, not in any one formula or recipe. It resides in the ability of faculty and staff to apply what is known about student retention to the specific situation in which the institution finds itself.” (Tinto, 1993, p.6)

19 References Buglear, J. (2009). Logging in and dropping out: exploring student non ‐ completion in higher education using electronic footprint analysis. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 33(4), doi: / Cook, A. (2009). The Roots of Attrition. In A. Cook & B. S. Rushton (Eds.), How to Recruit and Retain Higher Education Students: A Handbook of Good Practice (pp. 1-12). Abingdon: Routledge. Cook, A., & Rushton, B. S. (Eds.). (2009). How to Recuit and Retain Higher Education Students: A Handbook of Good Practice. Abingdon: Routledge. HESA. (2014). PIs: Non-continuation rates (Table T3) Retrieved 06/05/2014 from https://www.hesa.ac.uk/pis/noncon https://www.hesa.ac.uk/pis/noncon Longden, B. (2009). Foreword. In A. Cook & B. S. Rushton (Eds.), How to Recruit and Retain Higher Education Students: A Handbook of Good Practice. New York: Routledge.

20 References Quinn, A et al. (2005)From Life Crisis to Lifelong Learning: Rethinking Working Class ‘Drop-out’ from Higher Education. York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Thomas, L. (2012). What Works? Student Retention & Success, Building student engagement and belonging in Higher Education at a time of change: a summary of findings and recommendations from the What Works? Student Retention & Success programme. York: Higher Education Academy. Tinto, V. (1993). Leaving College. London: The University of Chicago Press, Ltd. Yorke, M. (2000). The Quality of the Student Experience: What can institutions learn from data relating to non-completion? Quality in Higher Education, 6(1), Yorke, M. (2006). Gold in them there hills? Extracting and using data from existing sources. Tertiary Education and Management, 12(3),

21 Contact Details SARAH BROXTON Strategic Planning Officer University of Huddersfield


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