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S tudent performance patterns in South African Higher Education between 2000 and 2005: implications for thinking about the curriculum Presentation by Prof.

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Presentation on theme: "S tudent performance patterns in South African Higher Education between 2000 and 2005: implications for thinking about the curriculum Presentation by Prof."— Presentation transcript:

1 S tudent performance patterns in South African Higher Education between 2000 and 2005: implications for thinking about the curriculum Presentation by Prof Jenny Clarence-Fincham, based on Scott, Yeld and Hendry (2007).

2 Purpose To present some of the key findings from the Scott report, to consider their implications in the context of UJ and to raise some curriculum-related issues for further consideration in the Faculty

3 Outline Context for the Scott research The cohort study Evidence from performance patterns in the higher education sector UJ /Humanities student performance Implications of the performance patterns for the role and significance of extended curriculum programmes What is needed at UJ? In this Faculty? Where to from here?

4 Context for the research 1.Higher education in the developing world 2.Higher education in South Africa

5 The significance of higher education in developing countries Increasing importance of graduate output – quality, numbers and national need The Lisbon Council (with reference to the EU) –‘First and foremost, our universities … exist to educate and prepare people to be fully-functioning, well-developed members of our advanced, post-industrial society.’ –‘… seeking excellence in research should never be allowed to become an excuse for underperformance in the educational tasks [of higher education].’

6 Significance of higher education in South Africa ‘ Skills’ shortages –key obstacle to economic and social development Special need for good graduates –HE’s unique responsibility –particular need for SET graduates Equity and social stability

7 Aim of the research To make a case, based on analysis and interpretation of current student performance in the sector, for improving graduate output by increasing the effectiveness of the educational process in higher education To provide an analysis of major factors affecting graduate output with a view to identifying educational strategies that can improve student progression, and consider the implications for policy development and capacity building –

8 The cohort study A longitudinal study of all students entering higher education beginning with first time entry students in Data presented here is from the DoE HEMIS system and tracks the performance of the 2000 – 2005 cohort

9 How well are we doing in higher education in South Africa ?

10 Graduated in regulation time: General academic first B-degrees, excl Unisa 04: Business/Management24%24% 15: Life and Physical Sciences21%21% 22: Social Sciences29% 12: Languages28%

11 Graduated in regulation time: National Diplomas, excl distance ed (TSA) 04: Business/Management18% 06: Computer Science14% 08: Engineering 5% 12: Soc Services/Pub Admin13%

12 Graduated in regulation time, by race: General academic first B-degrees, excl dist ed CESM (classification of educational subject matter) BlackWhite 04: Business/Management11%43% 15: Life and Phys Sciences11%35% 22: Social Sciences14%43% 12: Languages13%52%

13 Graduated within 5 years: general academic first B-degrees, excl Unisa CESMGradStill in 04: Business/Management50% 7% 15: Life and Phys Sciences47%13% 22: Social Sciences53% 6% 12: Languages47% 7%

14 Graduated within 5 years: National Diplomas, excl distance ed CESMGradStill in 04: Business/Management33% 8% 06: Computer Science34%11% 08: Engineering17%14% 12: Soc Services/Pub Admin29% 6%

15 Student performance after 5 years: Overall Graduated30% Still registered14% Left without graduating56% Estimated completion rate44%

16 Student performance after 5 years: Contact university programmes Graduated50% Still registered12% Left original institution38% Students ‘lost’≈15,000

17 Student performance after 5 years: Contact ‘technikon’ programmes Graduated32% Still registered10% Left original institution58% Students ‘lost’≈25,000

18 Participation rates* and their significance Overall:16% White:60% Indian:51% Black:12% Coloured: 12% * Approximate gross enrolment rates derived from HEMIS 2005: all participants as % of age-group

19 Implications of the participation rates The view that a large proportion of current students ‘do not belong’ in higher education is not tenable Current intake has high potential –so what becomes of it?

20 Outcomes Among the CESMs and qualification types analysed: –in the contact university programmes, only two cases where loss may be under 40% –in the contact ‘technikon’ programmes, no cases where loss will be under 50% Students ‘lost’ from 2000 intake: 65,000 –implications for economic development

21 Equity of outcomes:the central challenge Under 5% of the black age-group are succeeding in higher education in South Africa

22 Equity of outcomes: Graduation within 5 years in general academic first B-degrees, excl UNISA CESMBlackWhite 04: Business/Management33%72% 15: Life and Phys Sciences31%63% 22: Social Sciences34%68% 12: Languages32%68%

23 Equity of outcomes: Graduation within 5 years in National Diplomas, excl distance ed CESMBlackWhite 04: Business/Management31%44% 06: Computer Science33%43% 08: Engineering16%28% 12: Soc Services/Pub Admin29%23%

24 Observations Among the CESMs and qualification types analysed in the contact university programmes : –in all cases the black completion rate is less than half the white completion rate, and –in all cases the number of black graduates is less than the number of white graduates –so lack of equity of outcomes is neutralising the gains made in access

25 How are we doing at UJ?

26 UJ Student performance: 2001 cohort: general first B degree FacultyGrad min timeGrad min + 1Grad min + 2 FEFS33%53%62% Health Science32%53%60% Humanities34%47%53% Management24%50%59% Science38%55%63% Total33%51%59%

27 Throughput rate by race RaceGrad min timeGrad min + 1Grad min + 2 African13%34%45% Coloured15%22%36% Indian20%43%54% White41%58%64%

28 Implications Output not matching national needs in respect of ‘economic growth … and social cohesion’ (Pandor 2005) Current system not meeting the needs of the majority –pressing need to widen successful participation The equity and development agendas have converged –catering successfully for student diversity has become a necessary condition for economic development as well as social inclusion Substantially improving the performance of the majority is the central challenge –but current mainstream system is not succeeding

29 Whose responsibility? Factors beyond the higher education sector’s control –‘money and poor schooling’ (M&G 2006) Factors within the higher education sector’s control –The educational process in higher education is itself a major variable affecting who succeeds and fails

30 Many students arrive like this...

31

32 How do we to improve graduate output? The performance patterns are persistent –will not change spontaneously Limitations on increasing output by increasing the intake –growth will perpetuate or worsen existing performance patterns if the process does not change

33 Improving graduate output Improving output depends primarily on improving the performance patterns The groups from which growth in output must primarily come are those that are least well served by the current system –improving output depends on systemic change

34 What can be done? Analysis and understanding of undergraduate teaching and learning and the choices that can be made about it Focus here on academic issues in the context of a holistic view of student development

35 The extended curriculum as the national norm?

36 The extended curriculum It is not a temporary band-aid measure but provides an informed, relevant and sustainable curriculum structure which meets the learning needs of the majority of our students

37 The extended curriculum Is not be simply more of the same over a longer period Provides alternative flexible curriculum structures which allow both access and success for all students Balances depth and breadth There is no one-size-fits all model Needs to be developed in terms of Faculty needs Considers the implications of “learning-to-be” for the Humanities Caters for a diverse student population and different learning needs – traditional curriculum is clearly not serving the needs of the majority of our students Incorporates and integrates foundational provision Needs to be flexibly designed so as to ensure the possibility of accelerated progress for a minority of students

38 Thoughts from Humanities Simply stretching the curricula over a longer period is not enough. addition we need: research focused on student profiling to inform interventions planned avenues of support and system training for academic interventions for students requiring different levels and kinds of support enough trained staff in ADS a functional well-funded tutorial attention paid to overburdening a functioning system of holding students accountable for their work a functioning system of monitoring input of academic staff and accountability in their turn. all interventions must be integrated into curricula, not separate, additional modules flexible structure which accommodates both fast and slow movers


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