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Who are our students


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It is important to know who our students are if we ever wish to teach effectively. The knowledge that students bring with them is as important as the knowledge we wish to impart.

It is important to know who our students are if we ever wish to teach effectively. The knowledge that students bring with them is as important as the knowledge we wish to impart.

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  • 1. Rethinking teaching in higher education Who are our students? What are their needs? Dr Melvyn November
  • 2. The Student Retention and Graduate Destination Study: Dropout or stop out at the University of the Western Cape Mignonne BreierChief Research Specialist in the Education, Science and Skills Development Research Programme of the HSRC
  • 3. Background• Problem of student attrition acute in SA• In 2000, – 30% dropped out in first-year of study – Further 20% dropped out in 2nd & 3rd years – Of the remaining 50%, fewer than half (22%) graduated with generic BA with specified three-year period (DoE, 2001)
  • 4. Rationale of study• To provide a clearer understanding of the factors that shape the trajectory of students into, through and out of HE institutions and into the labour market.
  • 5. Scope of the study• Study - moment in history of institutions: 2002• Seven institutions 1. Cape Peninsula Technikon 2. Fort Hare 5. U. of the North 3. Pretoria Technikon 6. Western Cape 4. Stellenbosch 7. Witswatersrand
  • 6. Three phases of project• Institutional profiles – graduates and non-completers• Profiles of individual students – Surveys of graduates and non-completers  without achieving a qualification, and those  with a notional three- or four-year qualifications • Case studies of the seven institutions
  • 7. Socio-Economic Status of Non-Completers90% 82% 82% 79%80%70%60% 53% 50%50% Low-SE40% High-S30% 25% 25%20%10% 6% 6% 6%0% UFH UNorth UWC SU Wits
  • 8. Completers vs Non-Completers: UWC Faculty Enrolment70 65605040 Completers 32 Non-Completers30 2420 18 18 17 8 910 5 4 0 Humanities Combined Science Education BSC programmes
  • 9. Reasons for non-completers leaving80% 68%70%60% 53% 47%50% UWC40% 32% SU30%20%10%0% Excluded Voluntarily
  • 10. Reasons for students being excluded60% 52%50% 40%40% 33% 31% UWC30% 27% SU20% 17%10%0% Finance Academic Finance & Academic
  • 11. • Zivana Jenkinson, General Marketing Manager of Edu- Loan, South Africas dedicated education financial services provider, says: "Some students apply for partial bursaries and then find themselves stuck with additional costs they cant afford … Aside from the tuition, there are textbooks, transport, food, accommodation and other living costs that can financially cripple the student - and thats when they drop out” ( 12-1-11).
  • 12. Income of fathers, mothers or guardians60 5350 44 41 3940 Father/male guardian % Non- completers30 28 Father/male guardian % Graduate 24 25 21 Mother/female guardian % Non-20 completers 13 13 13 13 Mother/female guardian % 11 10 10 11 Graduate10 6 5 6 6 3 3 1 1 0 No Income Under R3,200 R3,200-R6,400 R6,401- R12,001 + Dont know R12,000 above
  • 13. Conclusions - UWC case study• Many students leave prematurely – cannot afford to stay at university• Student under-performance and dropout: Not be seen in isolation from – personal and – parental financial resources• Vicious cycle: – financial disadvantage and – academic underperformance
  • 14. Factors affecting student learning at UWC Study conducted by Prof. Vivienne Bozalek 2008
  • 15. Motivation of study• To investigate students’ learning needs and experiences, and• To use findings to improve learning environment & culture of learning at UWC
  • 16. Methodology - Workshop• Workshop on Participatory Learning and Action – 20 students from EMS, ARTS, NS, and CHS• Individual and group exercises on factors impacting on students’ learning at UWC – Visioning Exercise, Mapping, Matrix ranking, Tree Exercise
  • 17. Methodology – Survey• Questionnaire administered to 696 students• Included all 7 faculties: EMS, CHS, Arts, Dentistry, Education, Law and Science• Currently 2nd year students• Data collection: September-October 2008
  • 18. Experiences with lecturers and in the classroom• What do you think students said about our teaching and learning practices?
  • 19. Attendance: The Lecturer/lectures 170.00% 61.99%60.00% 54.90% 54.24%50.00% 41.21%40.00%30.00% 20.66% 17.15% 17.73%20.00% 15.03%10.00% 3.17% 2.31% 0.72% 0.87% 0.00% Very clear Quite Always Not very well Very well unclear Almost Usually unclear unclear regularly Irregular attend attend never Not at all Very Often quite Fairly well ly How often attend Explain objectives Clarity
  • 20. Consultation with lecturers100.00% 90.13%90.00%80.00%70.00%60.00%50.00% 45.87%40.00% 34.37%30.00%20.00% 13.72% 9.87%10.00% 6.05% 0.00% No Yes Hardly at all Most of the All the time Sometimes time Consultation Availability
  • 21. Dialogue90.00% 82.49%80.00%70.00%60.00% 56.43% 55.21%50.00% 44.79%40.00%30.00% 26.32% 17.51%20.00% 12.72%10.00% 4.53%0.00% A lot of A little Virtually amount No No Yes Yes none of A fair of it it it Learning activity in class Group Work Enjoy group work
  • 22. Use of Digital Media90.00% 78.83%80.00%70.00%60.00% 47.25%50.00% 41.98%40.00% 34.99% 30.64%30.00% 19.36% 21.17% 20.12%20.00%10.00% 2.75% 2.92% 0.00% No Yes More Never Less Enough Very often Much More Quite often Occasionally Use PC Attended course Use of technology
  • 23. Use of Writing Centre90.00% 80%80.00%70.00% 57.79%60.00%50.00% 42.21% 37.68%40.00% 28.17%30.00% 21.83% 20%20.00% 12.32%10.00%0.00% No Yes Not really A little bit A fair A lot No Yes amount Using the centre Usefulness Help in faculty w ith w riting
  • 24. Feedback from Lecturers60.00% 53.97%50.00% 39.94%40.00% 36.03%30.00% 26.92% 26.05%20.00%10.00% 7.09%0.00% No Sometimes Usually Almos No Yes Alw ays Useful Constructive
  • 25. Inclusivity in higher education• ‘Access without support is not opportunity. That institutions do not intentionally exclude students from college does not mean that they are including them as fully valued members of the institution and providing them with support that enables them to translate access into success’ (Engstrom & Tinto, 2008:50).• Promotion of inclusivity in an attempt to redress apartheid legacies such as the skewed distribution of resources & divisions on the basis of race in this sector.• Key factors seen to be within the higher education sector’s control are affective factors arising from institutional culture and teaching and learning processes followed in HEIs.
  • 26. Conclusions and recommendations1. Need to be accessible and available to students2. Need to Convey clear expectations to students3. Feedback – why students get marks; improve performance4. Scaffolding the reading and writing processes5. Infusion of technology with teaching6. Use student evaluations - Improve teaching and learning7. Ways of motivating student learning