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HERE Project Staff Workshop

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  • 1.HERE to Stay? Findings from the HERE Project2008 - 2011Ed Foster & Sarah Lawther - Nottingham Trent University

2. Warming up your brains Please decide For you, which is the most important factor for student retentionFriends &Knowing your students?Academic transition? social engagement? Go to the relevant sign Agree as a team your two most persuasive arguments why Well be sharing them in a few minutes 3. HERE ProjectHigher Education: Retention & EngagementTwo areas of work- Impact of doubting on student retention- Impact that programme teams can make on retentionFocus on first year 4. Doubting Defined as having doubts about the course/ university seriousenough to consider leaving How many students are doubters in the literature? 21% Rickinson and Rutherford (1995) 39% Sodexo (2010) Yorke & Longden (2008) 25% (rising to 40% if less informed about course) Doubting as a cause of withdrawal Gradual accumulation of doubts - Ozga and Sukhnandan (1998) Differences between doubters and leavers Internal factors - Mackie (2001), ability to adapt - Roberts et al (2003) But UK progression is good NAO (2007) suggests that progression to yr 2 is approx 90% Our work is therefore also about engagement 5. Engagement Retention is the minimum form of engagement 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 and the effort institutions devote to using effective educational practices. positive, statistically significant effect on persistence, even after controlling for background characteristics.... (Kuh et al, 2008, p551) Astin (1985) - engagement (involvement) along a continuum Hardy and Bryson (2010) student engagement Belonging, emotional engagement More than the classroom activities Multiple loci 6. Methodology Strand 1 Doubting Welcome Week Surveys & Student Transition Surveys (2009 &2011) to all first year undergraduates (online) (n=2,995) Student focus groups with doubters and non doubters Analysis of persistence Strand 2 programme team impact Interviews with 10 programme teams what do programmes do to support retention? Survey of students on same programme Created case studies of 10 programmes across the three institutions 7. Key Findings 8. Finding a)Approximately one third of first year students haveexperienced doubts sufficiently strong to make themconsider withdrawing at some point during the first year 9. Finding b)Doubters are more likely to leave than non-doubters 483 students granted us permission to monitor their persistence 182 doubters 301 non-doubter Tested Dec 2009 - Overall progression better than institutional benchmarks Implications Links to other UK research & supports Ozga & Sukhnandans model Withdrawal not due to a sudden shock 10. Finding c)Doubters reported a poorer quality experiencethan students who have not doubted Measured 17 student experience factors For example my subject is interesting Tested both the importance and actual experience of a factor In most instances importance was higher than the actual experience Exceptions social, peer & family support Average gap for non-doubters = 12% Average gap for doubters = 29% Tested seriousness in 2011, more serious doubts = poorer experience reported Factor analysis grouped the Student Experience Factors into 3 variables Academic Experience Variables Support, Resources and Future Goals Student Lifestyle Strongest link between academic experience and likelihood of early withdrawal 11. Poorer quality experience cont. Doubters reported: Less likely to understand differences between FE & HE Less likely to have had difference explained Less likely to find pre-arrival course accurate Finding course less enjoyable Fewer friends & less likely to find course friendly Less likely to feel that they belongedI dont seem very involved Studies harder to cope with with the University to be honest At UoB actually scored lower grades probably if I see my tutor on the road, Feeling less confident to ask for help he wouldnt recognise me. Overall gave an impression of being far less well engaged with theirpeers, their course and their university Evidence about UCAS tariff was inconclusive 12. Finding d)Students usually report more than one reasonfor doubting Doubting appears to become a state of mind Looked for differences between doubters who stayed & doubterswho left Doubters who left reported a more negative experience overall 13. Finding e)The primary reasons for doubting areassociated with student perceptions of thecourse Similar to otherstudies for example Yorke & Longden 2008 Course was the mainfocus for moststudents Most importantacademic reason wasdoubts about coping2009 Student Transition Survey 14. Finding f)There were four main reasons cited bydoubters for staying Support from friends and family Adapting to course/ university Determination/ internal factors Future goals/ employment Impact of friends & family undervalued by students Importance 13th of 17 Student Experience Factors More likely to experience supportive friends In 2009, open question Friends & family most important (friends at university) In 2011, when asked to choose from options, most important reason Friendship features scarcely at all 15. Finding g)The primary times for considering leaving areimmediately before and after Christmas Weather, tiredness & January blues will play a factor, but Also key times around first assessments & feedback Relatively few of our respondents stated that they had doubtsbefore arriving at University Perhaps had already withdrawn, or had forgotten early stresses 16. Finding h)Students reported different degrees ofdoubting 17. Finding i)Some student groups appear more likely todoubt than others Students are more likely to be doubters if they are in the followinggroups Female but less likely to actually leave Prior US studies suggest that female students suffer a dip in confidence during the first year not recovered until the second Male doubters were far more likely to leave Student with disabilities more likely to have doubts Part-time students more likely to leave Accommodation (living in private halls more likely to doubt) 18. Discussion To what extent does this chime with your experiences/understanding? Do you have any questions/ thoughts/ observations/ limericks thatyoud like to share? 19. The HERE Project Toolkit 20. The HERE Project ToolkitFindings from Strand 1 Doubters experience difference from non doubters? Consider factors that reduce leaving and increase staying Findings led to programme survey questionsStrand 2 Appreciative enquiry approach - what works? Case study questions Survey of students on same programme 21. FindingsDifferent programmes addressed different themes according to nature of cohortNo magic bullets, but lots of small interventions that when combined make a differenceInfluences how we work with programmesKnowing your students23 22. The HERE Project toolkit 9 recommendations to improve retention and engagement Broadly around two themes Reducing doubting in the first place Supporting doubters Each with suggested actions Diagnosis comes aspart of the first theme Suggest teams implement strategies that work for them 23. Using the ToolkitStage 1Stage 2Stage 3Take Stock Consider studentReviewIdentify students transition &at risk social integration SubsequentteamProgrammeTeam meeting/meetingsleader away dayReviewLook at formal & Reflect on own progress, reflectinformal datapractices, discuss and considerAsk questionsrecommendationsother themes- What do you& make plans already know? 24. Using the ToolkitSummaryCards designed as a resource for discussion and staff development Intention is to prompt thinkingHow do you address themes? What works well? What could you share? What could be improved? 25. Using the Toolkit Aimed at programme teams Tool for discussion Team meetings Away days Staff development events In a perfect world, would be facilitated Experiences so far Staff just grateful for the opportunity to discuss Interesting that communication across programmes weaker than we expected Lots of interest in the cards generated sharing of good practice 26. Using the HERE resources 27. Using the recipe cards Were going to vote to look at two of the three themes Friends &Knowing your studentsAcademic transition social engagement 28. Discussion task Would like you to read and discuss the sets of cards Then in your groups sort into two sets We already do this well/ its a low priority for us I would like to do something with this in my team 29. Toolkit review Normally, wed ask teams to develop an action plan from thecards, but clearly given the fact that people are from very differentteams, thats not possible However, if we presented your team with a set of cards, whatguidance/ further information would you need to make them more(or even just) useful 30. Review 31. Quick review Doubting appears to increase the risk of leaving Students who withdraw early report a poorer quality experience Particularly around the academic sphere Withdrawal therefore tends not to be because of sudden crisis Although there are likely to be tipping points Factors that appear to work Relationships with peers and tutors Transition to learning in HE Engaging learning & teaching Goals & motivation Sense of belonging 32. Resources More info at www.HEREproject.org.uk Compendium of Effective Practicehttp://www.heacademy.ac.uk/resources/detail/what-works-student-retention/Compendium_Effective_Practice