HERE Project interim report 2009 10

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This is the second report from the HERE Project team. It outlines our evidence of the impact of student doubting on retention at Nottingham Trent University, Bournemouth University and the University of Bradford.

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HERE Project interim report 2009 10

  1. 1. What works? Student Retention and Success Programme: Interimreport headings 2009-10Please submit your project interim report by 1st October 2010 to:inclusion@heacademy.ac.uk. Each project report should be no more than10,000 words long. Please use single space and 12 point Arial. Please useheadings, so that your report can be navigated using a document map.If you wish to make use of institutional data which is not currently available,this should be indicated in the main report, and supplied as a data annex by28th January 2011 to: inclusion@heacademy.ac.uk.THE HERE ProjectWhat Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 1 of 44
  2. 2. 1. Introduction This should be a short section and should cover any changes (if any) to your institutional context(s) and staffing arrangements in 2009-10. The HERE Project is a collaborative research exercise operating in three universities: • Nottingham Trent University (NTU) • Bournemouth University (BU) • University of Bradford (UoB) The HERE Project has concentrated on investigating two areas of work: • What can we learn from those students who have doubts, but stay? • What, if anything, can individual programme teams do to impact upon retention rates?Project TeamWhat Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 2 of 44
  3. 3. Institution StaffingNottingham Trent University Ed Foster, Study Support Coordinator (project lead) Sarah Lawther, Learning & Teaching Officer, (employed to conduct research) Two staff were engaged for short term specific tasks • Dr Nick Foard, to conduct statistical analysis of the Student transition Survey • Zoe Hollingsworth to conduct data analysisBournemouth University Christine Keenan, Learning & Teaching Fellow (institutional lead) Natalie Bates, Research AssistantUniversity of Bradford Becka Currant, Dean of Students, (institutional lead) Ruth Lefever, Research AssociateChanges during 2009-10Bournemouth UniversityThe team at Bournemouth has remained the same throughout 2009-10.University of BradfordThe last member of the core team, Ruth Lefever, joined in October 20091. InSeptember 2009, Becka Currant was promoted to her current role as Dean ofStudents.Nottingham Trent UniversityIn Summer 2010, Ed Foster and Sarah Lawther were moved as part of anorganisational re-structure. However, whilst some aspects of their roles arelikely to change, they are currently directly line managed by the chair of theHERE Project Steering Group, Professor Nigel Hastings. It is not anticipatedthat there will be any impact on project deliverables.1 For this reason we are reporting on the 2009 UoB doubters’ survey in this interim report,whereas much of the evidence from NTU and BU has been reported in the 2008-09 report.What Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 3 of 44
  4. 4. 2. Progress2.1 What have you done this year? (Progress against plan,additional activities, dissemination etc).The HERE Project has focused on the experience of first year students atNottingham Trent University (NTU), Bournemouth University (BU) and theUniversity of Bradford (UoB).We have investigated two areas:Strand 1- The impact of doubting on progressionStrand 2- The impact that individual programmes can provide tosupport better retentionThe evidence presented arises from the following sources:a) The doubters’2 surveys (March – May 2009) • Students were asked to rate the importance to them of 17 Student Experience Factors on a likert scale of 1-5 (for example, “my subject is interesting”) and then also how much they agreed that those statements reflected their experience. (See Appendix A for further details) • They were also asked whether or not they had considered withdrawing from University. If so, why and what had helped them remain? Students were subsequently categorized as doubters, or non-doubters.b) Interviews and focus groups with doubters and non-doubters (June –December 2009) • Students were interviewed at all three institutions either in small groups or individually. Differences were noted between the two groups. Initial findings from NTU and BU were reported in 2008-09.c) Analysis of doubters’ survey respondents’ progression (October 2009– January 2010) • Once progression data became available, we analysed those respondents who granted us permission to do so. The results of the doubters’ surveys were again reviewed taking into account the additional progression data. At NTU, further statistical analysis was2 Formally known as ‘Student Transition Surveys’What Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 4 of 44
  5. 5. conducted to test which factors were likely to have the strongest impact upon doubting.These data sources were then used to develop a draft programme audit tool.d) Interviews with programme staffThe draft programme audit tool was used to structure the investigation of bothcourse literature and then conduct interviews with programme staff onprogrammes at all three partner HEIs. Where possible, programmes werechosen because they were either: • Better at retention than their peers • Were working to overcome a particular problem/ appeared to be coping with particular issues, for example had a high proportion of mature students. • Where possible we have tried to analyse comparable programmes at all three partnerse) Surveys with students on the same programmesWe then sought to corroborate the evidence provided by the programme staffusing feedback from students on their programmes.2.2 What has changed this year?For the most part we have remained focused on first year undergraduatestudents once they have commenced their studies. The strand 2 staff andstudent surveys have also provided evidence for the impact of interventionspre-arrival at university. In particular, the impact of the Stepping Stones 2HEhas been picked out at Bournemouth University.We have primarily focused on full-time students. We have some data frompart-time respondents to Strand 1 research, but a very low response rate.When we conduct the second doubters’ survey (Easter 2011) we will seek toget a better response rate from part-time students. The University of Bradfordis currently part way through a programme audit with a programme containinga large part-time cohort.We have conducted our research broadly along the lines set out in the originalproject proposal. We have however, slightly changed our approach to strand2 research. We have found that the full process for each programmeretention audit is highly time-consuming. The analysis of retention statistics,course literature and then the results of our research has created anextremely rich source of data, but one that is time-consuming to analyse.Therefore, in July 2010, we agreed with our project liaison Prof Liz Thomasthat we would reduce the total number of programme audits from anambitious 21, to a more-realistic 10-12.What Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 5 of 44
  6. 6. 2.3 What remains outstanding in your plans for 2009-10 andwhy?There are three outstanding items. Fundamentally, they have been delayedfor the same reasons. Some aspects of the project, particularly strand 2research has taken longer to complete than expected.1. Programme Retention Audit Tool (final version)A working version of the audit tool has been developed based on the Strand 1research. We are confident that the question areas are right, however, wehave not yet produced a version that can be used by organisations that havenot previously been involved in the HERE Project. We are meeting on 14 &15 October 2010 to create a final version of the tool and will disseminate it inDecember 2010.2. Project websiteThis has been delayed. NTU are extending the contract of a short-termemployee with web development experience to ensure that the project has awebsite by November 2010.3. Project ReportsWe agreed with the HERE project steering team that we would produce anumber of stand-alone reports into the different aspects of our research.Each partner HEI has produced the required reports; they will be drawntogether in the Autumn term 2010.2.4 Successes and challenges and implications for futurework.In order to produce this report, we have reviewed the original researchquestions set out in the stage 2 of the bid process. With one year to go, wehave strong evidence to answer the questions we set with regards todoubting. 2010 - 11 will be used to gather further evidence about actions andstrategies used by doubting students to remain.We are not as far forwards with Strand 2 research. This is due to thefollowing reasons:Firstly, it is partly dependent on the data gathered from strand 1, thereforewould always would always take up more time in years 2 & 3.Secondly, the audits were more time consuming than originally envisaged.Whilst institutional staff are interested in the work, it takes time to set upinterviews and questionnaires as they deal with other demands upon theirtimeWhat Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 6 of 44
  7. 7. We have therefore scaled back the total number of audits from 21 to 10 – 12.We are meeting on the 14th & 15th October 2010 to review our existing dataand plan how we will complete the research within the timescale.What Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 7 of 44
  8. 8. 3. Findings: impact and implications3.1 Summary of key findingsThere are four broad points below. They are slightly longer than bullet points,but we felt it would be beneficial to have an overview here, rather than brokeninto the different sections below.A) Impact of Doubting on the Decision to Remain or Withdraw IApproximately 1/33 of all new students (2008-09) appear to have consideredwithdrawing at some point during their first year. Furthermore, analysis of theprogression rates of respondents to the Doubters’ Surveys demonstrates thatdoubters are more likely to actually withdraw from university than studentswith no doubts.4Doubters also rated their experience more poorly than their non-doubtingpeers5. Those who actually withdrew were even more negative about theexperience.6 We feel this is useful as it suggests one way of identifyingstudents at risk before they actually withdraw. Whilst this may only confirmcommonsense assumptions, it’s useful to have it evidenced.B) Why Students DoubtNon-doubting students are most likely to report that they have had a positivelearning experience. They were more likely to report that their tutors wereenthusiastic and their subject was interesting. They were more confident thatthey would be able to cope with their studies. When tested, the single factor3 UoB – 28% doubters, NTU - 37% doubters, BU – 46% doubters4 In all three institutions doubters were more likely to withdraw than non- doubters. At NTU,98.2% of non-doubting students were still in higher education the following November.Amongst those students who had described themselves as doubters, only 90.3% were. AtBU, 96.6% of non-doubters progressed, only 91.3% of doubters did so. At UoB, 100% ofnon-doubters progressed and only 90.4% of doubters did so. We have compared the rates ofprogression with the institutional benchmarks for 2007/08 (the most recent year that there isHESA data available) and these rates of progression are better than the whole institutionperformance, by as much as 5%. Therefore the self-selecting nature of the survey (with ahigher proportion of female students) has meant that we are looking at a sample that isslightly different to the institutions as a whole.5 See appendix A. At all three institutions, doubters rated the 17 student experience factorsmore negatively than non-doubters in all but three instances. At BU the three factorsassociated with a social life and support from family and peers were rated more highly than bydoubters than non-doubters. Therefore in 48 of the possible 51 responses from across the 3partners, doubters rated the experience more negatively.6 Further analysis conducted of the NTU doubters who left, see appendix A.What Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 8 of 44
  9. 9. most associated with confidence was feedback7. Therefore, if students feltthat their feedback was useful, they were more likely to be confident that theywere coping with their studies. In two of the three partners, non-doubters alsoappeared to be enjoying their overall university experience more thandoubters.In contrast, doubting students rated virtually all the 17 Student ExperienceFactors more negatively than their non-doubting peers8. There was also agreater gap between the importance they placed on individual factors andtheir actual experience of those factors. When asked why they doubted, themost common reasons stated were ‘course related’ in all three surveys.When the academic experience grouping was analysed further, ‘anxiety aboutcoping’ featured heavily.Students were asked to record how hard they had found their studies. Thosewho found it very hard or very easy were more likely to have doubts. Similarlywhen responding to how hard they were working, those working very hard orvery little were more likely to have doubts. Interviews at UoB also found thatstudents who were anxious about coping were more likely to be doubters.Other factors that made students consider leaving included the studentlifestyle, finance and personal issues.C) Factors that help doubters stayAlthough there was some variation between the partner institutions, the mostcommonly cited reason for staying was ‘friends and family’. It was felt that itwas important to group family and friends together as they described non-professional and informal sources of support and this may have an impactupon strategies for supporting doubters.Other reasons for staying included:UoB – adapting to the course/ University, determination/ internal factors,support from institutional staffBU adapting to the course/ University, determination/ internal factors, supportfrom institutional staffNTU – Future goals (particularly employment), Determination/ internal factors,Adapting to the course and University lifeD) A two-strand approachWe would suggest that the evidence of the doubters’ surveys suggests that7 We tested the four Student Experience Factors and one question that we felt would havethe strongest impact on confidence (See section 3.3.1 Organisational domain)8 BU – Doubters stated that ‘my family is supportive’, ‘my fellow students are supportive’ and‘I have an enjoyable social life’ more highlyWhat Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 9 of 44
  10. 10. institutions need to consider a two-strand approach: tackle those factors thatlead students to have doubts in the first place and develop strategies tosupport student doubters.What Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 10 of 44
  11. 11. 3.2 Implications for practice3.2.1 HEI levelWe would suggest that the evidence of the doubters’ surveys suggests thatinstitutions need to consider a two-strand approach:a) Tackle those factors that lead students to have doubts inthe first placeDoubts appear to be primarily caused by academic matters. If institutionswant to prevent students from doubting, then we need to help students toreduce anxiety about coping and make the transition to learning in a moreadult and independent fashion.The following all appear to have the potential to reduce doubting and havebeen picked out in interviews with staff and students: • Building individual student confidence about their academic abilities • Providing useful feedback, probably earlier in the student lifecycle than is normally the case • Helping students to learn effectively from feedback • Helping students to make the transition from learning in post-16 education to higher education • Providing supportive and accessible tutors and ensuring that the role is properly supported. • Provide inspiring lectures who engage well with first year students. Evidence is starting to emerge from the strand 2 research to show that students respond positively to passionate and inspiring teaching. Furthermore non-doubters appear more likely to rate the quality of teaching staff more highly. It may be that inspiring lecturers are teaching in a way that inspires around ⅔ of all students, or that not enough high quality lecturers are teaching first year students. Either way, institutions need to continue to invest in a balance of teaching and research and ensure that investing time in both is perceived as beneficial to the individual academic’s career. • At NTU non-doubters appear more likely to have taken part in extra- curricular activities such as clubs & societies. We would suggest that it’s important that a wide range of such activities are made available to students.b) Develop support strategies to help student doubters. • The most important factor to help support doubters appears to be the support offered by their peers and feeling part of a student community. This may be particularly important during induction and throughout theWhat Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 11 of 44
  12. 12. first year. In strand 2 interviews, a number of interviewees have suggested that course reps can play an important role here. • We would suggest that institutions ensure that appropriate social spaces are built into their estates strategies, both on campus and in accommodation • Pre-arrival community building - Staff interviewees have suggested that this process may start with open days. As students increasingly operate online, building up pre-arrival activities will become increasingly part of the process • Develop effective pastoral and professional support. A number of recommendations about good practice have come forward, but overall, our research suggests that the form this takes appears less important than the quality.We would also suggest that HEIs explore making funds available from theirretention allocation for staff to bid for to test out the impact of ideas they mayhave.0What Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 12 of 44
  13. 13. 3.2.2. Department/service levelWith each of the recommendations below, we suggest that departments needto both raise awareness within their own teams of the issues as well asactually carrying out these actions.a) Staged transitionWe would recommend that departments dedicate more time to consideringhow they are to help students make the transition from FE into and throughthe first year in HE. If, as our evidence suggests, confidence is important, thismay mean considering strategies for providing early assessment and earlydevelopmental feedback to help students feel that they are making progress.b) Building a cohort identity & friendships within the cohortHow much they learn is not as important as how gelled they are as a group atthe end so they’ve got a mutual support system. We think that peer support isone of the key factors of retention (BU, strand 2 staff interview)We suggest that departments need to create opportunities for students to feelthat they belong to a programme, this will include both helping students to findout about one another, but also to learn about who their tutors are. Examplesthat have emerged from the strand 2 research include: • Ice breakers and other team building activities during induction • Outdoors team building residential events - the University of Bradford interviews found that this was particularly valuable to mature students • One BU student suggested that there may be benefits from follow up social events one month into the start of term • Use of pre-arrival activities, for example Stepping Stones 2HE and Develop Me • Learning & behaviour contracts signed during induction • Use of course reps and other voluntary positions to encourage social cohesion • Staff interviews at BU suggest that this process may start with the impression given during open daysc) Pastoral and academic support“There must always be someone that they can come to” (BU, strand 2,student survey 2)What Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 13 of 44
  14. 14. The strand 2 interviews have provided evidence for different systems workingeffectively. We have seen evidence of the effectiveness of personal tutors,year tutors and programme leaders offering pastoral support depending uponthe size and nature of the programme.Whilst we would not recommend any single system, we feel that it is importantto have an effective system in place. It may be that having a clear route tosupport and having a responsive system are particularly important. UoB havefound that a rapid response to attendance monitoring may have helpedimprove student performance/progression.Similarly, staff interviews have cited a number of examples of additionalacademic support having a positive impact upon their students. We willinclude guidance on these in thed) Promote the benefits of the programmeThe evidence for promoting the long term benefits has been a little mixed.Overall it appears that seeing the benefits of the course will act to motivatesome students (UoB, strand 2 interviews), but elsewhere it does not appear tobe a particularly strong motivator (NTU, strand 1 focus groups).What Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 14 of 44
  15. 15. 3.2.3 Individual (staff or student) levela) Individual StaffWe would suggest that individual teaching staff need to: • Be seen to be interested in individual students, ingraining a ‘friendly face culture’ “They provide such a friendly relationship which makes it easier to learn because I feel more confident to ask questions” (BU student survey 1) • Strive to overcome the challenges of large cohorts, in particular try to learn students’ names – “It’s nice when lecturers know you personally by name” (BU student survey 3) • Be explicit about how students are expected to work and engage with the process • Transmit their enthusiasm for the subject (particularly when teaching new students who may lack the maturity to have internalised and be motivated by that passion) • Help new students develop friendships with one another within the course • Strive to meet individual students to discuss progress early in the academic year and help students to learn the meaning of feedback and strategies for improving work. In the first year, the assumption that all first years are adult enough to seek help may not be useful • Consider adopting PAL, SI or other peer mentoring schemes to help first year students acclimatise to HE and support efforts by course reps and other student groups to build up student communities • Provide opportunities for students to actively develop the skills and aptitudes required to cope in HE • Monitor attendance and respond quickly to non-attendanceb) Individual StudentsNon-doubting students appear to be more academically successful, appear tobe more satisfied and tend to be more socially engaged.Specific actions that may help individual students • Be prepared to recognise that they are learning in a new system and are required to take more responsibility • Learn how to use feedback • Be prepared to engage with ‘learning to learn’ and other academic skills teaching whether in stand alone modules or embedded within the curriculum • Be prepared to step outside personal comfort zones to build up a supportive network • Learn where and how to access supportWhat Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 15 of 44
  16. 16. 3.2.4 HE sector levela) Dealing with a mass higher education systemOur evidence suggests that problems partly stem from first year studentsfeeling isolated and uncertain about how they are progressing in the system.We suspect that this may be partly due to the scale and relatively infrequentcontact typical of higher education. For example, one BU student intervieweereported that“As it is such a big course it is difficult for the lecturers to get to know us, or insome cases even recognise us” (BU student survey, programme 2)”We would suggest that the sector would benefit from paying more attention toissues associated with teaching large cohorts: particularly creating cohortidentity and engendering friendship within them, providing pastoral supportand managing attendance/ engagement.b) Transition from FE to HEThe student feedback suggests that doubters are relatively dissatisfied withthe experience of learning at University. In two of the studies, NTU and BU,students who did not understand the differences between FE and HE weremore likely to be doubters9. We would therefore suggest that more energy isinvested in helping institutions prepare and support students to make thetransition from one system to the other.c) Providing teaching to meet a wider range of studentsWhilst the evidence from the UoB Doubters’ survey is less clear than thatreported from NTU in 2008-09 it shows that students who are working ‘veryhard’ or ‘not very hard at all’ appear to be more at risk of being doubters thantheir peers working moderately hard. This appears to suggest that there maybe students at either end of the ability bell curve who may be finding the lackof challenge, or the high level challenge to be a problem.c) Reward for good teaching and pastoral supportWhilst we don’t doubt for a moment the sincere efforts of most staff to supportindividual students, we would suggest that HE structures may need to moreexplicitly reward activities such as good pastoral care and effective first yearteaching. Some staff, for example, reported recognition and reward withininstitutions for staff engaging in research and publications but little reward orrecognition for efforts made in relation to improving the student experience,such as time invested in pastoral support.9 (Although this was not the case at UoB)What Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 16 of 44
  17. 17. 3.3 Findings against emerging theoretical model3.3.1 (Organisational domain)How can the learning experience be managed and co-ordinated to promotethe engagement, sense of belonging and/or retention of all students (or aspecific target group)?The responses below are about the students’ academic experiences, but notspecifically about the curriculum, therefore we have placed them in theOrganisational domain.The Doubters’ Surveys at all three institutions indicate that the most commonreasons students gave for doubting relate to academic studies. At NTU, afactor analysis of 1610 (see Appendix A) of the student experience variablesfound that ‘Academic Experience’ was a common underlying factor11. Whenthis was tested with a number of other factors12 this was found to be have thestrongest influence with whether a student would doubt or not. The morepositive the academic experience, the greater the odds of being a nondoubter; students with the most positive academic experience were twelvetimes more likely to be non doubters than those students with the leastpositive academic experience.Therefore, we would suggest that if institutions are to target resources tosupport student retention, they ought to concentrate primarily on the academicexperience.a) Anxieties about copingIn 2009-10, the academic reasons to doubt cited in the doubters’ surveyswere analysed in more detail. At NTU the most common reason cited was‘anxiety about coping’ (45 out of 137 responses), this factor was joint first atBournemouth (7 out of 32 responses) and third at Bradford after‘dissatisfaction with staff members’ and ‘other’ (3 out of 14 responses).10 The variable ‘I would know where to go within the University if I had a problem’ was notincluded in this analysis as it did not load onto any of the 3 factors.11 As well as the underlying factors ‘Support, Resources and Future Goals’ and ‘StudentLifestyle’ (see Appendix A for full details)12 Factors tested were; the underlying factors ‘Academic Experience’, ‘Support, Resourcesand Future Goals, ‘Student Lifestyle’, and the variables age, gender, whether the student wasthe first person in their immediate family to go to university, whether NTU was their firstchoice of university, whether this was their first time living independently and whether thestudent had applied through clearing.What Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 17 of 44
  18. 18. Figure 1 - NTU 2009, analysis of academic reasons for doubtingThese anxieties also appeared in the subsequent interviews with studentdoubters. Students often described feeling uncertain about deadlines, or thatthey weren’t capable of actually meeting the standards required.“More than a couple of times where there was a deadline coming … I amthinking “My God, there is no way on earth I am going to get this done, whydon’t I just get another job?”” (Interview with Bradford student doubter) (b) Student Experience Factor – ConfidenceAs well as being the most commonly cited reason for doubting, confidencealso appeared to be highly important amongst the 17 Student ExperienceFactors (see appendix A). At UoB, the second largest gap betweenimportance and experience is in response to the statement “I feel confident Ican cope with my coursework” (Importance = 88.9%, experience = 28.6%)13.At NTU, confidence coping was the second largest gap amongst doubters14and at Bournemouth it was the joint third (as reported in 2008-09).13 The largest gap was in response to the statement “the feedback I receive about my work isuseful”14 After the statement “I am confident that I have enough money to complete my course”What Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 18 of 44
  19. 19. Figure 2 – NTU the relationship between the statement ‘I feel confidentthat I can cope and the impact upon progression within the sample.The box plot (Figure “”) illustrates how the scores given by NTU students inanswer to the statement “I feel confident that I can cope with my studies”(rated from 1-5 where 1= strongly disagree and 5= strongly agree) varyaccording to their progression status, recorded in the following fourgroups: .- No doubts and stay- Have doubts but stay- Have doubts & leave- No doubts but leave-The box illustrates the middle fifty percent of cases. The thick black lineacross the box illustrates the median value. The vertical lines either side ofthe box (with a T at each end) indicate the remaining cases except theoutliers which are indicated by a dot (with the reference number of eachcase alongside).We have used the box plots to show where there is a correlation between anegative score and an increased likelihood of doubting and withdrawing.This correlation occurs frequently amongst academic related factors, but notalways for other factors. See Appendix A for examples where therelationship is less clear.What Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 19 of 44
  20. 20. You will note that in this box plot, the group ‘No doubts but leave’ has a higher overall level of satisfaction. This group only contains four respondents and so the score needs to be treated cautiously. We suspect that these students withdrew after a period of being blithely unaware that there were any problems, or due to a sudden problem (as described in Ozga & Sukhnandan, 1998).c) Strategies for improving student confidence- FeedbackWe then sought to identify which factors had a relationship to confidence.Further statistical analysis15 at NTU looked at whether there was a correlationbetween student responses to the statement ‘I feel confident that I can copewith my studies’ and their responses to following statements; • ‘Lecturers are accessible’, • ‘The feedback I receive about my work is useful’ • ‘I would know where to go within the university if I had a problem’ • ‘My fellow students are supportive’ • ‘Do you have a personal tutor?’16.The strongest association related to useful feedback.Higher Education often uses a different feedback paradigm to that studentshave encountered beforehand. Whereas in FE, formative feedback is oftenavailable, it is rarer in HE, where instead greater emphasis is placed uponhigh quality written feedback at the end of the piece of coursework. Feedbackfrom student doubters suggests that this model is failing to meet their needs.For example:“Although I’m trying very hard, my marks aren’t great, and I don’t know whereI’m going wrong” (BU doubter (answering between March & May 2009))We would suggest that institutions consider how the provide feedback early inthe student lifecycle. It appears that students are searching for reassurancefrom their feedback and we would suggest that gold plated of high qualitywritten feedback may be of less use than other speedier forms. Our workoutside the HERE project would also lead us to suggest that students areused to having opportunities to discuss and engage with feedback. It may beparticularly important during the first year to replicate this practice, even if onlyfor the first few assignments.15 A standard entry multiple regression analysis16 This analysis looks at the link between confidence and these factors anddoes not indicate impact upon doubting/persistence.What Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 20 of 44
  21. 21. d) Strategies for supporting student confidence- Supportive studentsThe second strongest correlation to confidence was the variable ‘my fellowstudents are supportive’ (see Social Domain for further details). This wasfollowed by having ‘accessible lecturers’. ‘Knowing where to go if there is aproblem’ has a far lower correlation and oddly ‘having a personal tutor’appears to have no correlation at all.Perhaps because of the historic success of Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) atBournemouth University, a number of respondents described PAL asbeneficial to the process of reassuring and building confidence.“They love the PAL leaders. Having the PAL leaders to guide them throughthe challenging times” (BU strand 2, staff interview)“I think it’s invaluable because they can touch base with someone who’s beenthere and done it before…they see them as their peers and look up to them.It’s fantastic.” (BU strand 2, staff interview)e) Strategies for supporting student confidence- Relationship and communication with staffWe also looked at whether there was a link between the statement ‘I feelvalued by teaching staff’ and student progression. The box plot below showsthe analysis of those students who granted us permission to track theirprogress at NTU.What Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 21 of 44
  22. 22. Figure 3 - NTU relationship between the statement “I feel valued byteaching staff” and retentionFrom this, we can see that there was least variance among students who hadno doubts and stayed and that these students were also more likely to saythat they felt valued by teaching staff. As is the case in the previous box plot,there is an increasingly negative score from non-doubters who stay, todoubters who leave. We can infer from this that by increasing how valuedstudents feel by teaching staff the number of doubters who leave can bereduced as can the students who have doubts.Focus groups with doubters and non-doubters also indicated that arelationship with a member of staff was a factor in non-doubting; all non-doubters in the NTU focus groups said that they had a member of staff theycould go to if they needed to.f) Adapting to learning at UniversityThe BU doubters’ survey shows that students who did not understand thedifferences between HE and their previous education were more likely to havedoubts. 32% of students who understood the differences in detail had doubts,50% of those who did not understand the differences had doubts. Similarly ifa BU student did not feel that the information they had received prior toarriving was accurate, they were more likely to have doubts (80% doubted,against 45% who though the information was accurate).What Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 22 of 44
  23. 23. The UoB doubters’ survey shows that students who were finding their studiesmore difficult were more likely to have doubts than those who were not.Furthermore, when the average grades of UoB student respondents weremonitored it appears that, overall, doubters had achieved lower grades thantheir non-doubting peers (approximately 10% lower).Figure 4 University of Bradford (2008-09) First year grades of studentswho took part in the Doubters’ SurveyWe aim to explore this further in 2010-11.What Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 23 of 44
  24. 24. 3.3.2 (Academic domain)How can the curriculum be designed and delivered to promote theengagement, sense of belonging and/or retention of all students (or a specifictarget group)?In writing this section, we found it difficult to identify themes that werecurriculum-specific that were not also associated with the wider academicexperience. We have found disaggregating the two a little difficult, thereforewe would suggest that the two sections ought to be read as a single whole.a) Relevance of the curriculum to future goalsThe UoB student doubters’ survey shows that the highest score in the 17Student Experience Factors (see appendix A) relate to achieving future goals.93.3% of non-doubters believed that completing their degree would help themachieve their future goals. It appears that it is important to promote the longterm benefits to students of their degree. However, it must also be noted that82.9% of Bradford doubters also believed that the course would help with theirfuture goals (the joint first highest factor). We suspect that this indicates thatwhilst it is important, other factors such as boosting student confidence maybe more so.Interviews with staff at UoB suggest that for those students with a less-clearmotivation for choosing a particular course, reiterating the importance ofcareer and future goals may be particularly important.Interviews with the student doubter focus groups suggest that amongststudents we have labeled ‘endurers’ (see discussion in ‘other findings’), futuregoals may be very important. However, students in this category were notparticularly well motivated when compared to the group we labeled ‘adapters’and appeared at times to be rather grudgingly persisting with their studies.“I stayed because of the placement, the third year. It is just like I am going togo for the next year and take the placement and come back and that is all.”(NTU doubter)b) Using the curriculum to support transition into HEStaff and student feedback for the strand 2 research cited a number ofexamples of practice that had been felt to be useful. These included: • The use of an effective learner module to help students to start to develop effective strategies for learning in HE. In interviews at UoB this is seen as especially beneficial to mature students and those with low tariff pointsWhat Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 24 of 44
  25. 25. • Offering clear guidance on academic processes and the amount of work students will have to put in outside of contact time – helping students to understand the differences between HE and previous study. • Both staff and students suggested that variety of modules, teaching methods and assessments may help stimulate students. For example “I like that it is a mixture of group work, presentations, exams or written coursework. Because this course allows us to work in a variety of ways, I find it a more interesting way to learn” (BU, student survey 1). However, we would caution that if confidence is a problem for doubters, a wide range of assessment types may actually leave them feeling more confused or uncertain about what is expected of them.What Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 25 of 44
  26. 26. 3.3.3 (Professional service domain)How can the professional service system be designed and delivered topromote the engagement, sense of belonging and/or retention of all students(or a specific target group)?The nature of the research has meant that we have spent relatively little timelooking at professional support services.The evidence we have suggests that the existence of professional services(and here we include personal tutors) make little difference to the cohort aboutthe likelihood of doubting. However, we have found evidence in interviews ofstudents being particularly grateful for support offered by tutors. This maysuggest a sense of denial or feeling of invulnerability amongst our studentsuntil they encounter a problem. It may also provide a partial explanation tosome of the problems that professional services have getting students toengage with them proactively instead of reacting once a crisis has takenplace.a) The personal tutorOverall, having a personal tutor makes little or no difference to the incidenceof doubting (a 2% difference at best)17. Although at BU, those students whodid not actually know whether they had a personal tutor or not appear to betwice as likely to have doubts. It does appear that BU students who see theirpersonal tutors weekly are less likely to have doubts and at NTU, seeing thetutor very infrequently appears be associated with an increased incidence ofdoubting, but the general relationship between the frequency of visits anddoubting is not quite so clear.Doubters also appear more likely to be disappointed in their relationships withstaff and cite problems such as perceived anonymity, difficulty accessingtutors and a lack of clarity about the role and expectations from tutors.That said, many positive statements were made about tutors and othersupport staff from students.Interestingly is that the presence of a personal tutor is unimportant, what doesappear important is a good quality relationship between the student and astaff within the programme/ at the University. Our programme audits haveshown that different tutorial systems can successfully provide support tostudents.17 NTU 36% of students with a personal tutor were doubters, 38% for those without oneWhat Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 26 of 44
  27. 27. b) Student Experience Factor - “I would know where to gowithin the University if I had a problem”Knowing where to go for help appears to be a relatively unimportant factorin preventing students from doubting. When NTU student responses wereanalysed, answering this question negatively was least likely to lead to astudent having doubts. In other words, not knowing where to go for helpwas unlikely to cause a student to have doubts.18That said, we aren’t arguing that professional services don’t have a role toplay, just that it may be hard for such services to make much impact ondoubting.c) Students with disabilitiesStudents with disabilities were more likely to have doubts than studentswith none.19 However, the progression rates were actually better than theirnon-disabled peers. At NTU, 95.8% of students with disabilities were stillin higher education.20 We believe that this therefore supports the case theprofessional services targeted at students with disabilities are making apositive impact upon retention.For example:“I…have a dyslexia tutor and he is brilliant, he will look over my work andhelp me if I am struggling…that really helped me.” (UoB interviewee,strand 1)18 Only 53% of those who disagreed with the statement were doubters, whereas 93% ofstudents who did not find their course interesting were likely to be doubters.19 (NTU, 50% of students with disabilities had doubts, at UoB, 47%)20 (The progression rate amongst all doubting students was 90.3%. It must be noted that onlyone disabled student withdrew and so we perhaps ought to be a little careful with such a smallsample.)What Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 27 of 44
  28. 28. 3.3.4 Social domainHow can the institution promote the social engagement and sense ofbelonging of all students (or a specific target group)?The HERE Project research suggests that amongst doubters, the supportof friends and family is the most important factor in helping students toremain at University.a) Friendships as a reason to stay – qualitative evidenceWe reported in the 2008-09 interim report that for NTU students, the mostimportant factor was ‘friends & family’. When further analysed, friendsformed at University were the largest single element of this group. Thesame analysis has now been completed at Bournemouth and Bradford,and in both of these surveys, ‘Friends & family’ came out as the strongestfactor.Figure 5 Student Transition Survey (March – May 2009, University ofBradford), What factors have helped student doubters to stay?Responses from UoB include:“My new friends have been able to help me get through many hardships,so they are part of the reason why I have been able to stay”“My fellow students have helped me a lot. They have been very supportiveand are always helpful”What Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 28 of 44
  29. 29. At BU, students also talked about the quality of friendships as beingimportant. Those students who described forming ‘solid’ or ‘good’friendships felt that it had helped them to stay. We also noted that theinverse is true: those students who had failed to make what they perceivedto be high quality friendships appeared to be more likely to doubt.Thirteen of the student respondents to the Bradford Transitions Surveywere interviewed during February and March 2010. Once again, theimportance of friendship and family featured highly amongst students’reasons to stay.“I can’t imagine what would have happened if I had not got on with thepeople I live with”“I am quite a home girl anyway, I like being at home you know, and withoutmy friends I couldn’t have done it, definitely couldn’t have done it… Iwouldn’t be here definitely; I would have just gone home”.“Without friends...I would feel unsafe as well so...I think I would not stay...Ithink because I have all the friends here that is why I am staying”Friends appear to act more as a comfort/ reassurance that there’ssomeone around to talk to and share the experience with, perhapssomeone who can empathise with the student doubter.b) Family as reason to stayIt is interesting to note that family includes both parents and partners,perhaps reflecting that some of the respondents are mature students.Reasons to stay cited by Bradford students included: “My friends and family continually encouraging me to continue with mystudies” (UoB Transition Survey).Non-doubters who were interviewed at Bradford also talked about familysupport as a reason to stay.• My husband [is supportive] massively because he has never queried it, and never competed for my time and the kids in their own way...they are old enough to understand...it is almost like it has always been there, oh mum is doing a course, mum’s at the computer and you can’t have the computer...it is my family unit that...got me through it... (Bradford interview)c) Quantitative data relating to an enjoyable social lifeThe initial evidence (as reported in the 2008-09 interim report) suggestedthat student doubters were less likely to have an enjoyable social life thantheir non-doubting peers. In January 2010, the data was re-analysed toWhat Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 29 of 44
  30. 30. take into account the student progression. Once again broadly, there wasthe expected relationship between a lower score in the factor and theincreased likelihood of withdrawing early (with the same exceptionalresponse from non-doubters who left).Figure 6 - NTU Student Doubters’ Survey (March – May 2009), impact ofhaving an enjoyable social life on progressionThis was not the case across all three institutions: at Bournemouthdoubters appeared to have a more enjoyable social life than non-doubtersand found that their fellow students were more likely to be supportive thantheir non-doubting peers.In the Academic Domain section, we noted that the main reasons forstudents doubting related to academic matters, particularly confidenceabout coping. The Student Experience Factor (see appendix A) with thestrongest association to confidence was ‘useful feedback’, the secondstrongest factor was having ‘supportive peers’. It is therefore important tonote that supportive peers do not just create a more pleasant environmentfor students to study in, but also appear to give students the confidence toactually participate in the learning process.What Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 30 of 44
  31. 31. d) Friendship-making opportunitiesThe following have all been suggested as possible approaches tosupporting better social cohesion by staff and students in the strand 2interviews: • Use ice-breakers during induction and create opportunities for students to learn one another’s names • Consider residential events during semester one – for both building friendships and boosting confidence levels • Students have suggested that Universities ought to consider providing refresher social activities a few weeks into term • Use course reps to provide course social eventse) Using groupwork to help create bondsProblems with group work can be a particularly stressful aspect of thestudent experience, nonetheless, we would strongly recommend it as amore natural way of encouraging students to start to develop friendships.Our experience during Welcome Week at NTU suggests that early groupprojects do need structured ice-breaker elements to overcome initialreserve; otherwise the opportunity is not always fully utilized.Interviewees at Bournemouth made the following observations:“Whilst they [the students] would argue that [group work] can have itsweaknesses, it does allow them to engage with each other and I’m surethat friendships and social support comes out of that” (BU Strand 2 staffinterview)“The group work we were set in our seminar group is very good for gettingto know people. I am now friends with people who I probably wouldn’thave been friends with had I not had to work in a group with them.” (BUstrand 2, student interview)At NTU, students described that smaller group work had helped them tomake friends “Being in groups for coursework has created good friends” (NTU Programme 2 student survey). “During tutorials and research methods class, that’s where I met my friends” (NTU Programme 2 student survey).f) Use peer support schemes for example PALPAL student facilitators may be able to play a particularly useful role helpingto develop a social milieu within the programme.What Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 31 of 44
  32. 32. “What brought our seminars together most was PAL sessions because itwasn’t a session purely for academics and we got to mingle on a social level”(BU strand 2 student survey programme 1)g) Curriculum designed to incorporate group workA number of both staff and student respondents suggested that group workprovided an important opportunity to engender a sense of belongingamongst the group.The group project was great for friendship building and was an enjoyabletask (BU, strand 2, student survey 1). Staff at UoB worked hard to mix upstudents during group activities early in order to break up cliques formedwithin programmes where many local students already know one anotherfrom college.3.3.5 (HE Structures & processes)How can the structures and processes of the English higher education systembe improved to facilitate institutions to promote the retention and success ofall students?We feel that we have stronger findings in other section and so for reason ofspace have not added anything here.What Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 32 of 44
  33. 33. 3.4 Further findingsAny additional findings that do not fit into (or challenge) the emergingtheoretical model.a) Classifying DoubtingWhen considering the of doubting on student progression, it would appearthat there are four possible positions for the student.State OutcomeNon-doubter Staying/ progressing LeavingDoubter Staying/ Progressing LeavingFigure 7 – outcomes of doubting/non-doubtingUsing the largest sample (NTU), we reviewed the Student Experience Factorsof those 370 students who granted us permission to track their progress. Wefound that the four groups typically presented the following characteristics:1. Non-doubters who stay (the largest group of students)These are fundamentally satisfied with the experience and appear to be morelikely to enjoy the learning experience and feel confident that they can cope2. Non-doubters who leave (the smallest group of students)As they appear to be satisfied with the experience, we suspect that thesestudents may have withdrawn because of external crises (as described byOzga & Sukhnandan 1998) or are blithely unaware that they are notperforming as well as perhaps they ought.3. Doubters who stay (Persisters)Whilst less satisfied with the experience, these students have remainedbecause of (primarily) positive reasons such as the support of friends oradapting to university, or negative ones such as being trapped by theopportunity cost of moving. We would suggest that these students can besupported and potentially moved from being doubters to non-doubters4. Doubters who leave (Leavers)These students have the most negative experience of all, but the gapbetween them and doubters who stay is smaller than the gap betweendoubters and non-doubters. We believe that these students can be supportedto remain.What Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 33 of 44
  34. 34. Non-doubters who stay Non-doubters who(Our ultimate goal) leave (We would suggest investing minimal resources here)Doubters who stay Doubters who leave(We need to support (We need to helpstudents here and move support these studentsthem to being non- and try to move themdoubters) away from doubting)Figure 8 - Supporting doubtersb) A typology of doubtingFollowing the interviews and focus groups with doubters at NTU, it was notedthat although there were many specific reasons for doubting and staying, twopatterns were of note.Firstly, most doubters who had decided to stay described facing problems andthen either overcoming, re-evaluating the scale of the problem or had enoughsupport from others to deal with the problem. They described a range ofbehaviours that we have tentatively described as ‘adapting’.A second, smaller, group explained that they were unhappy about aspects ofbeing a student, but instead of having overcome or accommodated theproblem, they were enduring the situation. What appeared to motivate thisgroup were the long-term goals such as career, or not wanting to let downfamily members. They appeared to feel more negatively about the experiencethan those adapters.One important difference between the two groups is that adapters were allable to describe support and communication from a member of staff.The researchers at BU and UoB found a slightly more nuanced picture.Students in interviews were describing both types of approach at the sametime. Or would describe having felt trapped, but had with help and support,often overcome the problem.We would tentatively suggest that there are broadly two types of behaviourassociated with doubting: • Adapting • EnduringWhat Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 34 of 44
  35. 35. We will seek to find ways of further exploring this during 2010-11.c) Student Doubting - Demographic DifferencesAnalysis of the NTU sample using logistic regression revealed that there wasnot a statistically significant link between doubting and the following variables: • living independently for the first time • being the first person in the family to go to university • applying through clearingThere was, however, a link between doubting and whether NTU was astudent’s first choice of university, but this was the reverse of what wasexpected. • Students who said that NTU was their first choice of university were twice as likely to have doubts as students for whom NTU was not their first choice.Female students appear more likely to have doubts than male students at twoof the institutions (BU & NTU). Nonetheless, doubting still meant that adoubting student was more likely to subsequently withdraw. For example 1%of male non-doubting students withdrew at NTU, compared to 15% of maledoubters.Students with disabilities appear to have more doubts than non-disabledstudents although they appear no more at risk of actually withdrawing. Thismay reflect the level of support available to them at Universities.Part-time students appear to be more likely to have doubts and actually morelikely to withdraw, although the overall number of respondents are low.Age appears to affect the likelihood of doubting differently at each of thepartner HEIs and it is difficult to see an overall pattern.Ethnicity also provides a mixed picture, but it appears that at UoB, Asian orAsian British Indian and Pakistani students have a lower rate of doubting thantheir peers.What Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 35 of 44
  36. 36. 4 Dissemination of learningPlease provide a bulleted list of how you have disseminated the learning fromyour project in 2009-10 (e.g. events, publications, institutional visits). Pleaselimit this section to no more than 1000 words. Please indicate those whichare action focused as well as information sharing.Dissemination Events2009 • 18 June 2009 Aimhigher West Yorkshire Students’ Writing in Transition • July 2009 HE Academy Conference Contributed to What works? Research and evaluation of interventions to improve student retention and success. Initial outcomes of the Retention Grants Programme • July 2009 22nd International First Year Experience Conference, Montreal, Canada Support Me! Develop Me! Retain Me! How a Reflective Skills Activity has Increased Student Engagement, Motivation and Success • 15 September 2009 Students Writing in Transition, Nottingham Trent University “It will all be different” Supporting Student Writing in Transition • 23 September 2009 Retention Summit, Bournemouth University HERE! Higher Education Retention and Engagement. • 15th October 2009 Research Seminar Series: Access and Success for All, University of Bradford Learning from the Data: Using institutional data to develop an audit tool to enhance student success2010 • 24 February 2010 Keynote at Greenwich Staff Development event • 3 March 2010 4 March 2010 Retention Convention: What works? Student Retention and Success, Leeds Here Project • 23 March 2010 ELFYSE conference, online • 29 March 2010 Nottingham Trent University Annual Learning & Teaching Conference, presentation & poster presentation FromWhat Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 36 of 44
  37. 37. Fresher to First Year: what is it that helps students to stay? • 29, 30, 31 March 2010, Celebrating Partnerships in Learning 7th Annual LDHEN Symposium, Nottingham Trent Uuniversity HERE to stay? Why do students persist and how can we support them to do so? • 7 May 2010 UK Transitions Conference workshop, University College London “I’ll be there for youuuuuu” The role of friendships in supporting transition • 27 May 2010 European First Year Experience Conference, Antwerp • 7-8th June 2010 9th Annual Teaching & Learning Conference, University of Bradford • 10 June 2010 Flying Start NTF Symposium • 16 June 2010 First Level Assessment Practice conference, Leeds Metropolitan University • 17 June 2010 keynote at ICG network, Leeds • 18 June 2010 Flexible Degrees conference, Plymouth • 25 June 2010 Community of Engagement, Higher Education Academy, York • 6 July 2010 Higher Education Academy, Male access and success in higher education, York • 8 July 2010 keynote on what students stay at university, Bolton • 14 September 2010 Students’ Writing in Transition Symposium, Nottingham Trent University The HERE Project: learning about transition from student doubtersDissemination Publications • HERE brochure ‘What works? Student retention and success programme Interim findings September 2009’. Disseminated to HEI’s detailing research so far. • A second edition of the HERE brochure is planned for later this year • December 2009 Research Seminar Series: Access and Success for All Briefing Paper Learning from the Data – using institutional data to develop an audit tool to enhance student successWhat Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 37 of 44
  38. 38. What Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 38 of 44
  39. 39. 5. Next stagePlease briefly report on your future plans. Please limit this section as a wholeto no more than 1000 words.Approach to future work (including an overview of planned work andidentifying any significant variations from earlier plans).How is this informed by a) progress to date and b) findings to dateStrand 1 - Student doubtersIn our original project submission we planned to produce a second doubters’survey in 2010 – 11. We feel that we have enough information aboutdoubting and so will not repeat some of the core questions from the firstsurvey. We will concentrate much more on the actions taken by doubters andtheir suggestions about structural support that would help. As this processwill take place relatively later in the project (Easter 2011), the survey will bemuch shorter than the 2008-09 one.Strand 2 – ProgrammesAs conducting each programme audit requires a considerable amount ofwork, we will be conducting fewer audits than originally planned. However, inthe audits conducted so far, we are finding broadly similar answers. We aresatisfied that conducting 10 – 12 audits will produce a range of responsesbroadly the same as our original 21. We also feel conducting fewer audits willprovide more time to fully analyse data for emerging patterns.Dissemination ideas or plans for 2010-11. Please include any dates of eventsetc to be included in the Calendar.Forthcoming Dissemination EventsThere are a number of key conferences that the group has presented to inprevious years. We intend to present end of project findings at a range ofthese in the forthcoming year. These will include: • Our own institutional learning and teaching conferences • The UK transitions conference (May 2011) • The European and International First Year Experience conferences (June 2011)What Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 39 of 44
  40. 40. • Students’ Writing in Transition (early September 2011, Nottingham Trent University). After Sarah has presented a seminar for the past two years about the HERE project, we’re lining her up to deliver the keynote. • Furthermore a paper from the Bradford team has been accepted at the Society for Research into Higher Education conference 14 – 16 December 2010Website • We have a test site uploaded (http://web.me.com/ed.foster/) to test the structure. In October/ early November 2010, this will be replaced by a full project website.Publications • We refer to HERE Project research in FOSTER, E., LAWTHER, S., MCNEIL, J., 2010. Learning Developers Supporting Early Student Transition. In: HARTLEY, P., HILSDON, J., SINFIELD, S., KEENAN, C., eds. Learning Development in Higher Education. Palgrave Macmillan, 2010 (to be published 5 November 2010). • We will make reference to HERE research when we contribute to the HEA discussion paper in December 2010We will submit at least one academic paper in the 2010 – 11 academic yearand are discussing approaches to maximise publication opportunities.Support required next year. Please identify any ways in which the Supportand Co-ordination Team can assist your work next year.Contribution to programme outputs. Please indicate what potentialcontribution your project team would like to make to the broader outputs forthe programme as a whole.We are very happy to be involved in dissemination activities. Obviously afterthe life cycle of the project we may have less time to support such activity, butwill be keen to help where we can.Please note that you are also required to send a financial report tos.griffiths@hefce.ac.uk at HEFCE on 30th September 2010.What Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 40 of 44
  41. 41. Appendix AList of the 17 Student Experience FactorsPresented to students as part of the Student Transition Survey (March –May 2010)1. My subject is interesting2. My course is well organised3. I have enthusiastic lecturers teaching on my course4. My taught sessions (such as lectures and seminars) are interesting5. Lecturers are accessible6. I feel valued by teaching staff7. The assessment on my course is what I expected it to be8. The feedback I receive about my work is useful9. I feel confident that I can cope with my studies10. My fellow students are supportive11. My family is supportive12. I have easy access to University resources (e.g. Computers, library books that I need)13. I would know where to go within the University if I had a problem14. I like the house/ flat/ halls that I am living in15. I have an enjoyable social life16. I am confident that I will have enough money to cope17. Completing my degree will help me achieve my future goalsNick Foard conducted a number of statistical tests on the NTU data; bothon the initial, larger data set (of 656 students) so looking at doubting/nondoubting and on the smaller data set (of 370 students) of those studentsthat gave us permission to monitor their progress so looking at theirsubsequent progression.Larger data set (656 students): doubtingA factor analysis (using KMO measure of sampling adequacy, Bartletts testof Sphericity, Principal Component Analysis and a Rotated ComponentMatrix) was carried out that provided us with three component factors:A. Academic Experience Variables1. My subject is interesting2. My course is well organised3. I have enthusiastic lecturers teaching on my course4. My taught sessions (such as lectures and seminars) are interesting5. Lecturers are accessible6. I feel valued by teaching staff7. The assessment on my course is what I expected it to be8. The feedback I receive about my work is useful9. I feel confident that I can cope with my studiesWhat Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 41 of 44
  42. 42. B. Support, Resources and Future Goals10. My fellow students are supportive11. My family is supportive12. I have easy access to University resources (e.g. Computers, library books that I need)17. Completing my degree will help me achieve my future goalsC. Student Lifestyle14. I like the house/ flat/ halls that I am living in15. I have an enjoyable social life16. I am confident that I will have enough money to copeItem 13. “I would know where to go within the University if I had a problem”did not fit in well with other factors and is therefore not included as part ofany further factor analysis.Smaller data set (370 students): progressionBox plots were created to illustrate patterns between students progressionstatus and their factor analysis scores. A very clear pattern emerges forthe academic experience factor. Students with no-doubts who stay have ahigher score than doubters who stay. In turn, doubters who stay have ahigher academic experience score than those who doubters who leave.As is often the case with the analysis of individual factors, we note thatnon-doubters who leave actually have a very high level of satisfaction.However, we are only dealing with very small numbers of students (4 atNTU and 1 each at BU and UoB) and so have not particularly focussed onthese sets of answers.What Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 42 of 44
  43. 43. Figure 9 – NTU Academic Experience box plotThe pattern is far less clear for B. Support, Resources and Future Goalsand C. Student Lifestyle. There is a general trend towards lowersatisfaction in factor B amongst doubters, but is only marginal and in factorC “Student Lifestyle Factors” students who have doubts and leave actuallyscore higher than students with doubts and stay. Although clearly onemight be tempted to raise a hypothesis that for these students partying gotin the way of studying.Figure 10 – NTU Support, Resources & Future Goals box plotWhat Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 43 of 44
  44. 44. Figure 11 – NTU Student Lifestyle box plotWhat Works? Student Retention & Success Programme Interim ReportThe HERE Project page 44 of 44

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