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Improving Retention and Achievement Through Independent Learning ESCALATE – University of Stirling. Ian Beach Dumfries and Galloway College April 2006. Project Goals. Increase levels of adult literacy and numeracy within student population to: retain more students increase WSUMs

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Improving retention and achievement through independent learning escalate university of stirling

Improving Retention and Achievement Through Independent LearningESCALATE – University of Stirling

Ian Beach

Dumfries and Galloway College

April 2006


Project goals
Project Goals Learning

  • Increase levels of adult literacy and numeracy within student population to:

  • retain more students

  • increase WSUMs

  • maintain participation/interest long term

  • increase student achievement


Funding
Funding Learning

  • No extra funding from SFEFC - did ask

  • Looked to other funds ESF(£176k) and NOF(£140k nc) and SUFI (34k)

  • Total £350k

  • New Independent Learning Centres with Basic Skills Facilitators (3 yrs)

  • Dumfries 40 PCs + Stranraer 30PCs with PLATO software


Description
Description Learning

  • Previously conducted two research projects to determine levels of literacy and numeracy

  • If low levels was it affecting retention

  • Not convinced that early leavers were due to “financial” category indicated on early exit statistics



Screening
Screening Learning

  • Started with full time students - anonymous, accepting couldn’t help anyone if found to be deficient as no resources available

  • Interested in all levels of literacy/numeracy not “basic skills”

  • Tested at two levels BASIC (up to NC) and ADVANCED (up to HND)


Project
Project Learning

  • Tested all Full Time students June 2000 and repeated March 2001 (mix of previous year and new) to check correlation.

  • Showed good correlation and results therefore valid


Results
Results Learning

  • Across both levels 60%-70% of all students need some form of support

  • Numeracy essential support -

  • Basic 34% Advanced 20%

  • Communication essential support -

  • Basic 11% Advanced 14%


Outcomes
Outcomes Learning

  • When checking results against retention, strong correlation between support required and retention of groups

  • NC Theatre group retention 54%

  • Section average 89%

  • Healthcare/Care group retention 50%

  • Section average 92%


Ilc statistics
ILC Statistics Learning

  • Originally more mature learners than school leavers

  • Average 3 appointments per person (1/3 year)

  • Average appointment time 1.75 hours

  • Shortest appointment 15 minutes

  • Longest appointment 4 hours

  • Over 250 Learning Plans opened and active


Student views positive
Student views - positive Learning

  • Almost 1-1 attention don’t feel foolish in front of others

  • Ask questions freely without being judged by others

  • Would have dropped out - passed two modules felt would have failed

  • Never used a computer - would have left without help


Student views positive1
Student views - positive Learning

  • Never used a computer - terrified - now buying one and using it

  • Help has been “brilliant” were lost with classwork

  • Couldn’t do parts of course without extra help


Student views positive2
Student views - positive Learning

  • Student introduced to BBC Skillwise site, father had poor communication but too self-conscious to seek assistance - he now accesses site finding it incredibly helpful and enjoyable


Student views negative
Student views - negative Learning

  • Some feel nervous about coming to ILC first time, embarrassed but 2nd /3rd visit feelings disappear

  • Some dislike/nerves about the “test” particularly first week

  • Seems to have significantly reduced stigma


Student views negative1
Student views - negative Learning

  • Some “frightened”

  • Lot of information in induction week - message/idea and test/support may have got missed

  • Use of “difficulties” and “problems” sound like Learning Support


Staff views positive
Staff views - positive Learning

  • PLATO software a very good idea

  • Of great benefit to students improving spelling and particularly dyslexia

  • Helps ICT skills as well

  • Has had noticeable impact of increased skills after attendance

  • Greatly increases student confidence

  • Retention figures up for Departments


Staff views negative
Staff views - negative Learning

  • Mixed feelings about screening tests

  • Some results didn’t reflect student’s capabilities

  • Some tutors could have helped students more


Staff views negative1
Staff views - negative Learning

  • Some tutors focussed on immediate course and didn’t see relevance of students improving these skills to pass their course

  • Only applied to full-time students part-time would have benefited too

  • Need to strengthen influence on ensuring attendance, prompted not compulsory


Staff views negative2
Staff views - negative Learning

  • Time delay between completion and results too long

  • No feedback as to whether students attend or not - confidentiality

  • Comments in letter were too cold and could impact negatively on those with low self esteem



Basic level
Basic level Learning


Advanced level
Advanced level Learning


Achievement

Type Learning

1998 to

1999

2001 to

2002

2002 to

2003

Target

Sector Average

SPAR

FE FT

55%

70%

65%

62%

FE PT

93%

81%

95%

65%

HE FT

72%

77%

80%

68%

HE PT

77%

82%

85%

70%

Achievement

Performance Indicators 2000/01 to 2002/03 – Update Jan 2003


Current operation
Current operation Learning

  • Open until 7.30pm two evenings per week

  • Some tutors book whole groups in, some refer individuals and some students self refer

  • Moving away from Basic Skills Agency based tests

  • Intending to use Core Skills profiling for all students


Current operation1
Current operation Learning

  • Screen as early as possible, offering screening on application, pre-induction, at induction

  • Experiencing some behavioural problems as these seem to accompany younger students with lower skills

  • PLATO excellent for remote access at any time and for tracking students


Partnership
Partnership Learning

  • Using the facilities to achieve adult literacy partnership targets

  • Also rolling out PLATO access to remote partners for further target achievement

  • Used facilities and staffing resource to match fund partnership money and European funds


Advanced Courses - communication Learning

139 tests

54%

60%

50%

40%

30%

23%

ready for

14%

20%

9%

10%

1%

0%

Higher

Access 2

Access 3

Intermediate 1

Intermediate 2


Improving retention and achievement through independent learning escalate university of stirling1

Improving Retention and Achievement Through Independent LearningESCALATE – University of Stirling

Ian Beach

Dumfries and Galloway College

April 2006


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