HERE Project Nottingham Trent University University of Bradford Bournemouth University
Session outcomes Introduce 2 research strands Share findings from first year of study Play Family Fortunes (badly) Provide opportunity to spend some time looking at review/ audit tool
Background • HERE Project set up as part of What Works? Programme • Collaborative project • NTU • Bournemouth • Bradford • Based on first principles • What do we know makes a difference? • Didn’t start by seeking to prove a particular piece of work? • Although strong interests in • Transition • Induction
HERE Project • Two strands • Student doubters (first years) • Higher number of students have doubts than leave • Some research into difference between doubters and leavers (Mackie, 2001 & Roberts 2003) • Survey conducted at each partner NTU, Bournemouth & Bradford • (873 respondents) • Actual withdrawals analysed in December 2009 • Programmes with better than peer rates of retention • Based on the observations of significant differences in rates of retention between ostensibly similar programmes
Differences between Doubters & Non-Doubters • Tested against 17 statements • For example • “I’m confident that I can cope with my studies’ • Asked students to report on importance and experience • In most areas there was a gap between importance & experience • Importance being higher • Largest gaps (all students) • Finance, quality of feedback and course organisation • But in some, the experience was actually better • Social life, supportive students & family • Universally doubters rated the experience more lowly
Who are the students who withdrew? • NTU • 16 students from 370 withdrew (4% of respondents) • Gender • 8 female (3% of respondents) • 8 male (6% of respondents) • Age • 11 were aged 18 – 21 • Disability • 1 student withdrew from 24 (4% of respondents) • Mode of Study • 5 part time students withdrew (50% of respondents)
Impact of Doubting • 16 withdrawals from 370 students • 12 were doubters (8.8% withdrawal rate) • 4 were non-doubters (1.7% withdrawal rate) • Non-doubters 5 times more likely to persist
Family Fortunes Really Simple Two teams With bells Start with head-to-head Then get the chance to collect all the points and stuff
Producing the Review Tool • Quantitative analysis • Survey • Qualitative analysis • Survey • Focus group Findings Strand One Research Method Strand Two Devise interview questions based upon findings of Strand One to explore retention in programmes Review Tool Use findings from programme research to develop the audit tool
Findings Strand One First data set: different reasons given for leaving than staying Second data set: doubters more likely to leave than non-doubters Review tool structured around • reducing leaving • increasing staying Using data from larger data set (doubting/non-doubting)
Focus groups Focus groups May 2009 (NTU) 4 focus groups (1 hour workshops, 13 students in total) Control group of non-doubters Selection of doubters STEM subject doubters Mature student doubters Limitations All students that we spoke to were female. Of the doubters we spoke to, four students were mature students, one student was a mature international student, one student was an international student and one student was a home student with English as a second language. This is not representational of the profile of the total respondents. 20
Focus group findings Spectrum of reasons to stay • From positive decision to ‘no choice’ Key differences between non doubters and doubters • Relationship with staff • Belonging “I don’t seem very involved with the University to be honest…probably if I see my tutor on the road, he wouldn’t recognise me”.
Quantitative analysis of survey data Pargetter et al (1998) Used analysis of quantitative survey and focus groups to develop four scales that influence transition Limitations of our method • Not a representative sample • Fairly small sample
Current Course Experiences: Doubters vs. non-doubters % is the number of students who agreed or strongly agreed with each statement Base = 656 (doubters = 243, non-doubters = 413)
Review Tool Research interview format will form the basis of review tool Programme research will explore these areas in programmes • What can we learn from programmes? • Is what has been identified by students as helping them to stay actually what helps them to stay? (can we find this out?) • Gather activities, examples and practices to share Results from programme research will be used to further develop the review tool
Activity • Please work in small groups/ pairs and take a look at the review tool • We’d be grateful on any thoughts about the design/ structure of the tool • What examples do you have of good practice in the areas identified in the audit tool? • Where does this chime with your experiences?
Thanks very much for your time Any Questions?
References PARGETTER, R., McINNIS, C., JAMES, R., EVANS, M., PEEL, M., DOBSON, I., 1998. Transition from Secondary to Tertiary: A Performance Study [online]. Available at: http://www.dest.gov.au/archive/highered/eippubs/eip98-20/contents.htm[Accessed 1 March 2010].