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HERE Project workshop 22 March 2011


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HERE Project staff development workshop showing findings and discussing the draft tool kit as it stands March 2011

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HERE Project workshop 22 March 2011

  1. 1. What have we learned from the HERE project? Ed Foster & Sarah Lawther – LLR
  2. 2. Aim of session <ul><li>About the HERE project </li></ul><ul><li>What is the relationship between doubting and withdrawal? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do some students have doubts and what may help these students to stay? </li></ul><ul><li>How can we as lecturers and programme teams support students to stay? </li></ul><ul><li>Before we get started…introductions and why are you here? </li></ul>
  3. 3. HERE project <ul><li>HEFCE & PHF funded Project (2008-2011) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What Works? Student Retention & Success Programme </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NTU leads one of 7 projects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>BU & UoB </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Strand One: why do some first year students have doubts, but stay? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strand Two: what do programmes do to support retention? What practice and examples can we learn from and share? </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Retention <ul><li>Yorke and Longden (2008) – seven factors that contribute to withdrawal </li></ul><ul><li>National Audit Office (2007) – five main reasons why students withdrew </li></ul><ul><li>Tinto (1975, 1987, 1993) – academic and social integration </li></ul><ul><li>Harvey and Drew (2006) - social integration important to retention </li></ul><ul><li>Buote et al (2007) - friendships </li></ul><ul><li>Johnston (1997) – financial reasons? </li></ul>
  5. 5. Doubting <ul><li>Rickinson and Rutherford (1995) </li></ul><ul><li>Ozga and Sukhnandan (1998) </li></ul><ul><li>Mackie (2001) </li></ul><ul><li>Roberts et al (2003) </li></ul>
  6. 6. Engagement <ul><li>Kuh et al (2008) describe student engagement as “the quality of effort students themselves devote to educationally purposeful activities that contribute directly to desired outcomes”. </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Student engagement in educationally purposeful activities during the first year of college had a positive, statistically significant effect on persistence, even after controlling for background characteristics, other college, experiences during the first year, academic achievement and financial aid.’ (Kuh et al, 2008, p551) </li></ul><ul><li>Bryson and Hand (2007) - student engagement as a continuum </li></ul><ul><li>Hardy and Bryson (2010) student engagement - belonging, emotional engagement </li></ul>
  7. 7. Before talk about the findings… <ul><li>What retention and/or engagement issues do you have on your programme? </li></ul><ul><li>How do you know? </li></ul>
  8. 8. Methods <ul><li>Strand One: why do some first year students have doubts, but stay? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Student Transition Survey (2008) to all first year undergraduates (online) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Student focus groups with doubters and non doubters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Student interviews </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Strand Two: what do programmes do to support retention? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Interviews with programmes– what do programmes do best to support retention? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Student survey </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>10 programmes across the three institutions </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Student Transition Survey <ul><li>March – May 2009 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Using NTU data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2 stages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Initial responses – 656 respondents (9% of first year) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Students granted permission to track progress </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Core questions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Have you considered withdrawing (leaving) at any point during your first year at NTU? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Please tell us what made you consider leaving NTU? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If yes - What has helped you decide to stay at NTU? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>17 Student Experience Factors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(for example – “I feel confident that I can cope with my coursework”) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How important? (1-5) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How positive has the experience been (1-5) </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Student Profile - Demographics <ul><li>62% females, 38% males </li></ul><ul><li>Majority aged 19-21 (67%), 17% 18 or under, 16% 22+ </li></ul><ul><li>94% UK, 6% international / EU </li></ul><ul><li>Majority classified themselves as White (80%) </li></ul><ul><li>6% said they have a disability </li></ul><ul><li>21% said they originate from the East Midlands, 13% more specifically in Nottingham, 8% Nottinghamshire and 58% rest of the UK. </li></ul><ul><li>49% currently live in university owned halls, 15% private rented, 14% private halls, 11% are living with relatives and 11% in their own home. </li></ul><ul><li>64% said this was their first time living independently </li></ul><ul><li>82% said NTU was their first choice University </li></ul><ul><li>48% said they were the first person in their immediate family to go to university </li></ul>Base = 656
  11. 11. Findings (NTU) <ul><li>Over a third (37%) of our sample said that they had considered withdrawing from their studies at some point so far in their first year. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>63% had never considered leaving </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>28% had considered leaving but had since decided to stay at NTU </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>8% had not yet made up their minds about whether to stay or leave </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1% had decided to leave NTU </li></ul></ul>Base = 656 (doubters = 243, non-doubters = 413)
  12. 12. How many went on to leave? (NTU) <ul><li>December </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>370 students provided permission to monitor data </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>354 were still in higher education in the new academic year </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>16 failed to ‘persist’ (4.3%) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>12 were doubters (8.8% withdrawal rate) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>4 were non-doubters (1.7% withdrawal rate) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Non-doubters 5 times more likely to persist </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>So student doubters were more likely to become leavers </li></ul>
  13. 13. Characteristics Associated with Non-Doubters <ul><li>Non-Doubters – 63% of first years had not considered withdrawing </li></ul><ul><li>Overall rated the experience more positively than doubters </li></ul><ul><li>In particular </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Positive academic experience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Positive experience of social support & future goals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Positive experience of student life </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Current Course Experiences: Doubters vs. non-doubters <ul><li>% is the number of students who agreed or strongly agreed with each statement </li></ul>Base = 656 (doubters = 243, non-doubters = 413)
  15. 15. Can you tell us why you had doubts?
  16. 16. Reducing leaving: course factors
  17. 17. Confidence <ul><li>Cramers V test*: strongest association with doubting was ‘I feel confident that I can cope with my coursework’. </li></ul>* Statistical analysis for the project carried out by Nick Foard, School of Social Sciences, NTU
  18. 18. Prior information <ul><li>Before you started your course at NTU, did you read any materials to help prepare you for your course (e.g. prospectus, course induction materials)? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>88% Yes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>12% No </li></ul></ul>Was the information from NTU before starting your course: % of students in each group who had considered leaving Very accurate 27% Reasonably accurate 37% Not very accurate 73% Very inaccurate 67%
  19. 19. Understanding Differences <ul><li>Since coming to university has anyone at NTU explained to you the difference between learning at university and your prior learning, particularly learning since age 16 (e.g. A’ Levels, BTEC)? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>52% Yes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>48% No </li></ul></ul>Do you feel that you understand the differences between learning at university and earlier learning? % of students in each group who had considered leaving Yes, in some detail 30% Yes, a little 38% No 62%
  20. 20. Summary - Who are the doubters? <ul><li>Students are more likely to be doubters if they are </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dissatisfied with the academic experience (confidence common theme here) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unclear about the transition into HE </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unhappy with aspects of institutional publicity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Struggling with their studies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Working very hard (or not hard at all) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Less academically ambitious </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dissatisfied with the student life experience (social life, accommodation etc) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Feel less supported by their family and fellow students </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Students are more likely to be doubters if they are in the following groups </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Female </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Student with disabilities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Part time students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accommodation (living in private halls more likely to doubt) </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Reasons why doubters stayed
  22. 22. Focus groups <ul><li>Focus groups May 2009 (NTU) </li></ul><ul><li>4 focus groups (1 hour workshops, 13 students in total) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Control group of non-doubters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Selection of doubters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>STEM subject doubters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mature student doubters </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Limitations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All students that we spoke to were female. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This is not representational of the profile of the total respondents. </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Focus group findings <ul><li>Spectrum of reasons to stay </li></ul><ul><li>From positive decision to ‘ no choice ’ </li></ul><ul><li>Key differences between non doubters and doubters </li></ul><ul><li>Relationship with staff </li></ul><ul><li>Belonging </li></ul>
  24. 24. Belonging: non doubters <ul><li>All of the students who had never had doubts could all describe the time when they felt that they belonged to the university </li></ul><ul><li>“ I think it starts when you walk down the street and you see someone and you go hey … I know them from University and that’s what made me feel like it [like I belonged]”. </li></ul><ul><li>“ The more people you know through other clubs and stuff the more you feel part of the University”. </li></ul><ul><li>“ The second term is when I started to feel more at home because in the first term you are always referred to as a fresher and 2nd term you are a first year student…I’ve got more friends, more like friendships, rather than just knowing lots of people” </li></ul>
  25. 25. Belonging: doubters <ul><li>Theresa, had had doubts and still describes herself as having difficulty ‘fitting in’. She has stayed because she doesn’t feel she has much choice. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I don’t seem very involved with the University to be honest”. A theme that emerged here was one of recognition, that “probably if I see my tutor on the road, he wouldn’t recognise me” . </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Charlie, on the other hand, who had had doubts but made a positive decision to stay, described that now she could recognise places and people, </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I feel better now because now I feel like I know where everything is and I always see someone walking around that I know if I want to stop and talk to them” . </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. “ I was not sure if university was for me. I disliked earlier education … and, although my course is satisfactory enough, I don't LOVE it. I think my good friends in halls/good friends in my seminar group/social life have kept me here.” “ I have found that the workload at times is too much to cope with, not the difficulty but the volume. ….. It has been the social side of it that has kept me here”
  27. 27. Programme research <ul><li>3 institutions – ten academic programmes </li></ul><ul><li>Staff interviews, student surveys </li></ul><ul><li>Retention toolkit for programme teams to self assess their own practice and consider approaches for improving retention </li></ul>
  28. 28. Using the Toolkit Self assess & data gathering Goal setting Reducing Doubting/ increasing engagement Supporting Doubters Agree Goals & Review dates We recommend that these stages are conducted as a staff development activity
  29. 29. Change tool <ul><li>Retention can be tackled within the programme </li></ul><ul><li>But to do so requires buy in from programme staff </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Initiative overload </li></ul></ul>What gets buy in from you? What would you want to see in a toolkit?
  30. 30. Toolkit <ul><li>Reducing leaving </li></ul><ul><li>Transition into HE </li></ul><ul><li>Engaging students </li></ul><ul><li>Choosing the right course & early communication </li></ul><ul><li>Relationships and communication with staff </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing staying </li></ul><ul><li>Social integration </li></ul><ul><li>Central student support </li></ul><ul><li>Belonging </li></ul><ul><li>Motivation, goals and determination </li></ul>It is a course that I really want to do, and even though it has been hard sometimes I know that in the end it is definitely worth it (BU student) [The] Learner Development [unit]...has been the biggest support ever, I couldn’t, I wouldn’t be here without [them] that’s it... (UoB student comment) ‘ This period of crisis where I didn't really know what to do and if I was managing with my studies, I guess getting that tutor support… that kind of broke some barriers that I had in my head’ (UoB student)
  31. 31. For further information . . . <ul><li>HERE project, Transitions Research, Welcome Week Research </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Student Mentors, Cafés, Workshops and Resources on NOW and in NTU Learning Repository: </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Icebreakers </li></ul><ul><li>Induction guide </li></ul>
  32. 32. References <ul><li>BUOTE, V.M., PANCER, S.M., PRATT, M.W., ADAMS, G., BIRNIE-LEFCOVITCH, S., POLIVY, J. and GALLENDER WINTRE, M. (2007) The importance of friends: Friendship and adjustment among 1st-year university students, Journal of Adolescent Research , 22(6): 665-689. </li></ul><ul><li>BRYSON, C., and HAND, L., 2007. The role of engagement in inspiring teaching and learning. Innovation in Education and Teaching International, 44 (4), 349-362. </li></ul><ul><li>HARDY, C., and BRYSON, C., 2010. Student engagement: paradigm shift or political expediency? Networks (Spring 2010), 19-23. </li></ul><ul><li>HARVEY, L., DREW, S. with SMITH, M., 2006. The first year experience: a literature review for the Higher Education Academy . York: HE Academy. </li></ul><ul><li>JOHNSTON, V., 1997, ‘ Why do first year students fail to progress to their second year? An academic staff perspective ’, paper presented at British Educational Research Association Annual Conference, University of York, 11–14 September, 1997. Available at: </li></ul><ul><li>KUH, G., CRUCE, T., SHOUP, R., KINZIE, G. and GONYEA, R., 2008. Unmasking the effects of student engagement on first-year college grades and persistence. The Journal of Higher Education, 79 (5), 540-563. </li></ul>
  33. 33. <ul><li>MACKIE, S., 2001. Jumping the hurdles - undergraduate student withdrawal behaviour. Innovation in Education and Teaching International, 38 (3), 265-276. </li></ul><ul><li>NAO (National Audit Office), 2007. Staying the course: the retention of students in higher education . London: The Stationary Office. </li></ul><ul><li>OZGA, J., and SUKHNANDAN, L., 1998. Undergraduate non-completion: developing an explanatory model. Higher Education Quarterly, 52 (3), 316-333. </li></ul><ul><li>PARGETTER, R., 1998. Transition from Secondary to Tertiary: A Performance Study. </li></ul><ul><li>RICKINSON, B., and RUTHERFORD, R., 1995. Increasing undergraduate retention rates. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 23 (2). </li></ul><ul><li>ROBERTS, C., WATKIN, M., OAKEY, D. and FOX, R., 2003. Supporting Student 'Success': What can we Learn from the Persisters? </li></ul><ul><li>THOMAS, L., 2002. Student retention in Higher Education: the role of institutional habitus, Journal of Educational Policy , Vol. 17, No. 4, pp. 423–32. </li></ul><ul><li>TINTO, V., 1993. Leaving college : rethinking the causes and cures of student attrition. Chicago ; London: University of Chicago Press. </li></ul><ul><li>YORKE, M. and LONGDEN, B., 2008. The First Year Experience of Higher Education in the UK . York: Higher Education Academy. </li></ul>