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Academic experiences of college students in universities of the south region of brazil

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  1. Academic experiences of college students in universities of the south region of brazil Cláudia Basso1, Dulce Penna Soares1, Marucia Bardagi1,Maria do Céu Taveira2, & Ana Isabel Mota2 1Federal University of Santa Catarina (BRAZIL) 2University of Minho (PORTUGAL)

  2. INTRODUCTION • Despite that increase number of studies concerning higher education institutions policies and its curriculum, there are few studies focused on college students, specially about how they experience and what they feel about their own academic route (e.g., Joly, Santos, & Sisto, 2005). • Although the Brazilian government´s investment in education has increased in the last twenty years, there is still a low percentage of young people who access the university, and a high percentage of college dropouts, specially students coming from rural areas (Silva Filho& Lobo, 2012).

  3. INTRODUCTION • The way students experience the academic environment and integrate themselves into higher education contexts is an unique and complex process, characterized by the gap between students´ characteristics and expectations and the academic standards, structure and community (Polydoro, Primi, Serpa, Zaroni & Pombal, 2001). • Academic experiences can be defined by all the issues directly or indirectly related with college students´ participation in graduation courses, and also with the academic events lived before the enrolment in higher education (Pachame, 2003).

  4. THE PRESENT STUDY • MAIN GOALS • Understand why college students decide to give up their higher education universities; • Understand which factors influence the decision of giving up college courses; • Contribute to prevent college dropout decisions.

  5. PARTICIPANTS • 126 students from universities of southern region of Brazil. • 36 females (29.6%) and 90 males (71.4%). • Aged 18 to 44 years old (µ=23.1±4.30). • Attending courses in Agronomy (38.1%), Environment engineering (11.1%), Agro-Business Technologies (23.8%) and Business Administration (27%). • From public (49.2%) and private (50.8%) higher education institutions. • Living in rural (32.5%) and urban (61.9%) areas. METHOD

  6. METHOD • MEASURE • Academic Experiences Questionnaire (QVA-r) (Almeida, Soares, & Ferreira, 1999; adapted by Granado (2004) and Santos, Noronha, Amaro, & Villar (2005). • Used to access student’s perception about their academic experiences in higher education. • Five dimensions: • Personal • Interpersonal • Career • Study-Learning • Institutional • Reduced version was used with 55 items using a 5 points Likert scale.

  7. RESULTS • Higher positive correlationsbetweenCareerandInstitutionaldimensions(r= .44, p= .001). • Negative correlationsbetweenCareerandInterpersonaldimensions(r= .29, p= .001).

  8. RESULTS • Significantdifferencesbetweenfemalesand males (t (124) = -2.08, p= .039), andbetweenstudentsfrompublicandprivatehighereducationinstitutions(t(124) = -2.94, p= .004), in Study-Learning dimension. • Significant differences between students living in rural and urban areas in Personal dimension.

  9. CONCLUSIONS • The results obtained suggest that, in general, the participants of this sample are satisfied with their professional choice, related with the graduation course and the higher education institution they attend, felling satisfied with their vocational perspectives and projects. • The results offer important clues about personal aspects in academic experience, related with the importance of fostering students’ self-confidence, optimism, physical and psychological well-being, their ability to deal with difficult situations, time management, among others. • Students attending private higher education institutions show higher satisfaction levels in Study dimension, which is an important information about how employed students can manage their time and arrange study and work.

  10. CONCLUSIONS • Students coming from rural areas seems to feel more optimistic and self-confidence, being able to better deal with the academic changes, especially in the end of their graduation courses, when the professional future plan’s expectations becomes more intense. • Positive academic experiences play an important role in the decision to continue or give up the graduation course. • As long as students are progressing in their graduation courses, they start to have more practical experiences like internships, which involves them deeper in their academic live and all issues related, as well as they tend to feel more confident with their academic choice and identify themselves with a professional role.

  11. REFERENCES Almeida, L. S., Soares, A. P., & Ferreira, J. A. (1999). Adaptação, rendimento e desenvolvimento dos estudantes no Ensino Superior:Construção/validação do Questionário de Vivências Académicas [Adaptation, performance and development of higher education students: Contruction/ Validations of the Academic Experiences Questionnaire]. Braga: Centro de Estudos em Educação e Psicologia (CEEP). Retrieved from Granado, J. I. F. (2004). Vivência acadêmica de universitários brasileiros: estudo de validade e precisão do QVA-R [Academic experience of Brazilian college students: Study of the validity and accuracy of QVA-r]. Dissertação de Mestrado. Itatiba: Universidade São Francisco.   Joly, M. C., Santos, A. A. & Sisto, F. F. (Orgs.). (2005). Questões do cotidiano universitário. São Paulo: Casa do Psicólogo.    Pachame, G. G. (2003). A experiência universitária e sua contribuição ao desenvolvimento pessoal do aluno [The academic experience and its contribution to the students´ personal development]. In E. Mercuri & S. A. Polydoro (Org.), Estudante universitário: Características e experiências de formação (pp. 155-186).Taubaté: Cabral Editora e Livraria Universitária. Polydoro, S. A., Primi, R., Serpa, M. N., Zaroni, M. M., & Pombal, K. C. (2001). Desenvolvimento de uma Escala de Integração ao Ensino Superior [Development of a scale for students adaptation to academic enviroment assessment]. Psico-USF, 1 (6), 11-17. Retrieved from Santos, A. A., Noronha, A. P., Amaro, C. B., & Villar, J. (2005). Questionário de vivência acadêmica: estudo da consistência interna do instrumento no contexto brasileiro. In M. C. Joly, A. A. Santos, & F. F. Sisto (Orgs.), Questões do cotidiano universitário (pp.159-177).São Paulo: Casa do Psicólogo.    Silva Filho, R. L. & e Lobo, M. B. (2012). Como a mudança na metodologia do INEP altera o cálculo da evasão [How a methodology INEP change na change evasion calculation]. Retrieved from

  12. Cláudia Basso – Dulce Penna Soares – Marucia Bardagi - LIOP (Laboratory Information and Career Guidance) – Maria do Céu Taveira - Ana Isabel Mota - Universidade do Minho - Portuguese Association for the Development of Career CONTACT AUTHORS: