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What works? Student Retention and Success Dr Helen May Professor Liz Thomas.

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Presentation on theme: "What works? Student Retention and Success Dr Helen May Professor Liz Thomas."— Presentation transcript:

1 What works? Student Retention and Success Dr Helen May Professor Liz Thomas

2 Presentation Overview Overview of projects and key findings Emerging theoretical model Common outcomes and emerging core principles of effective practice Conclusions Next Steps

3 Projects Overview Peer Mentoring HE Retention and Engagement Student adviser/ personal tutor Belonging and intimacy What works? Effects of student integration Dispositions to learn Study advice and personal development

4 Pathways to success: The value of peer mentoring in enhancing student transition to university Universities of Aston, Bangor, Liverpool Hope, London Metropolitan, Oxford Brookes, Sheffield, York University Canada and Oslo University College, Norway. Focus/hypothesis: Peer mentoring improves social and academic belonging (for mentors and mentees), which improves retention, progression and achievement. Findings: Mentoring creates positive impacts (greater for mentors) particularly in relation to learning experience and inter-personal relations. Evaluation of different forms of peer mentoring.

5 HERE – Higher Education Retention and Engagement Universities of Nottingham Trent, Bournemouth and Bradford Focus: Student doubters who stay in HE and programmes with excellent rates of retention. Findings: Students consider leaving for course related reasons. Students stay for more mixed reasons: support from friends and family, future goals or employment aspirations, personal determination or other characteristics, adapting to course/university and lack of other options. What makes people doubt is not the same what makes them want to stay. Evaluation of transition, social support and developing opportunities to feel confident early in the course.

6 A comparative evaluation of the roles of student advisor and personal tutor Anglia Ruskin University and two FE partners Focus: Where students prefer to seek help from for different issues. Findings: Study concerns - personal tutors (60%) and other university services; feeling low - family and friends (81%); thinking about leaving HE - friends and family (46%), personal tutor (43%) and student advisors (40%). Evaluation of the relationships with and roles of personal tutors and student advisors. Are friends and families equipped to adequately support students?

7 An examination of the effects of student integration on non-completion Universities of Sunderland, Hull and Newcastle Focus: The effects of student integration on non- completion, particularly in relation to mature and/or part- time learners, engineering students and local, stay at home students. Findings: Local students have achievement but not affiliation orientation. Focus on academic studies but look elsewhere for social and pastoral support. Need to promote integration via the academic experience. Evaluation of integrated orientation, structured and engaging personal tutoring and small groups.

8 Comparing and evaluating the impact of study advice and personal development on student retention Universities of Reading and Oxford Brookes Focus: to compare and evaluate the impact of academic and pastoral support systems based centrally (optional) or within the discipline (interventionist). Findings: Monitoring of student engagement (attendance and marks) has an impact upon retention rates. Prior qualifications (in science) has been a successful indicator for identifying students at risk. Importance of proactive role of personal tutors and other staff to signpost support. Evaluation of role of study skills support/advice and personal tutor and of interventionist /optional services.

9 Dispositions to Stay: the support and evaluation of retention strategies using the Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory Universities of Northumbria, Bedfordshire, Manchester with Bristol and Glyndwr. Focus: Using ELLI as a diagnostic tool, to identify whether particular learning dispositions place students at risk of withdrawing. Findings: Positive correlations found between 1 st year student marks and dispositions of strategic awareness, critical curiosity and changing and learning. Few significant differences found between social groups, although some gender, subject, social class, international differences. Evaluation of the relationship between learning dispositions and success and of the ELLI tool.

10 Belonging and intimacy factors in the retention of students University of Leicester Focus: evaluating the importance of a students sense of integration. Findings: have found combination of social, academic and environmental (facilities, accommodation) factors contribute to sense of belonging. Importance of personal and academic relationships and facilities/events. Evaluation of the factors that contribute to students integration and belonging.

11 Building a theoretical model

12 Academic system Social system Organisational system Professional services system Student relations, Beyond HEIn HEPre-entry Key principles underpin everyday practices and interventions dispositions & capacities Student engagement & belonging What students do during college counts more for what they learn and whether they will persist in college than who they are or even where they go to college. (Kuh et al 2005, p. 8)

13 Common outcomes and principles of effective practice

14 Common outcomes to improve student retention and success To build enduring and meaningful relationships with staff and peers. To better understand students as individuals. To build students capacity (knowledge, skill or resilience). To ensure staff/student expectations are matched and realistic. To promote a shared responsibility amongst staff and peers. To engender a sense of belonging. To provide a range of services to students. To maintain communication and promote dialogue with students.

15 Emerging core principles of effective practice Student engagemen t and belonging ProactiveInclusiveAccessibleFlexibleTransparent Multi- pronged OngoingPrompt

16 Conclusions Engage students across the lifecycle Work across different institutional systems Ensure everyday practices and retention interventions are informed by core principles Recognise the importance of peer /staff relationships Co-ordinate the student learning experience Promote a shared responsibility for retention Be proactive to engage all students.

17 Next steps Ongoing analysis of project findings Develop practical outputs for the sector Dissemination Seminar series Briefing papers Conferences Community of interest Final conference planned in 2012.

18 For further information, please contact: Dr Helen May Professor Liz Thomas

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