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Widening Participation. HEFCE definition: “denotes activities to recruit students from the groups that HEI’s have identified as under-represented and then to ensure their success”. Improving Retention of Students from Lower Socio-economic Groups Mantz Yorke and Liz Thomas

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slide1

Widening Participation

HEFCE definition: “denotes activities to recruit students from the groups that HEI’s have identified as under-represented and then to ensure their success”

Improving Retention of Students from Lower Socio-economic Groups

Mantz Yorke and Liz Thomas

Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management Vol. 25 No. 1 May 2003

slide2

HEFCE survey data for 98-99 was analysed in relation to:

  • Benchmarks for completion
  • Demographic variables:

Why are some Higher Education Institutions more effective at supporting under-represented students to succeed in HE?

  • young entrants from state schools;
  • young entrants from working class backgrounds;
  • young entrants from neighbourhoods with low participation rates; and
  • mature students with no family experience of HE and from low participation neighbourhoods
slide3

28

13

7

6

Better than bm for the 4 demographic vars

Exceeded bm in relation to state schs

Exceeded bm on at least 1 of the other 3 demographic vars

Better than benchmark (bm)

Performance of HE institutions

slide4

Seven topic areas have been identified as influencing student retention in HE

Academic preparedness

The academic experience – teaching, learning, assessment

Institutional expectations and commitment

The academic and social match

Finance and employment

Family support and commitments

Institutional support systems

slide5

Findings

  • A student centred approach
  • Students came quickly to be known as individuals
  • Pre-entry and early management with students
  • Involved with outreach work
  • Providing information between application and enrolment
  • Use of students (in highly visible t-shirts) to welcome students
  • Introduction of a ‘year zero’ course in some subjects at a local FE college
slide6

Findings

  • Curriculum related matters
  • Tailored to meet the needs of new students
  • Induction – v. important and usually extended beyond a week
  • Prioritising resource allocations in 1st year
  • Integrated key skills into ’mainstream’ subject modules
  • Employment/careers modules
  • Teaching and learning more interactive and social
  • Assessment in the early stages of the programme
  • Failing students – summer schools without the need to ‘trail fails’
  • Personal tutor systems
slide7

Findings

  • Student finance and related issues
  • Staff development and research
  • Need for staff development to support the WP agenda and facilitate changes in teaching and learning practices for the needs of a more diverse student cohort
slide8

Conclusions

  • an institutional climate that is supportive to student development;
  • an emphasis on support leading up to, and during, the first year of study;
  • an emphasis on formative assessment in the early phase of programmes;
  • recognition of the importance of the social dimension in learning activities; and
  • recognition that the pattern of students’ engagement in HE is changing.
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