What do we mean by student support? Staff and students’ perspectives of the provision and effectiveness of support for students
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AbstractThe aim of this small-scale study is to explore the effectiveness of the support available to students registered for programmes of study in the School of Education. This includes the provision of university-wide student support and guidance services as well as the more localised study skills and academic and personal support provided by personal tutors. The perceptions of both staff and students were sampled through questionnaires and interviews. This paper presents a review of literature on the provision of student support for the increasingly diverse body of students in higher education and some preliminary findings from our survey of current students. The literature and findings from our investigation indicate discrepancies between the officially declared provision of student support services and the accessibility and use of these services in practice. There is ambiguity around the role of the personal tutor and inconsistency of practice in the level of support provided by ‘personal tutors’ which suggest that a review of the personal tutor role is needed. Student responses to our questionnaire also indicate that drop-in study skills provision in useful and being used but that other student support services, such as careers and counselling services are rarely used by students from the School of Education. This is mainly due to accessibility of these services and the lack of provision on the Walsall campus. The other major theme in the data is the process of induction to the University which students regard as being too intensive an ‘event’ and inappropriate for getting to know about support services.
CitationCELT Learning and Teaching Projects 2005/2006
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
DescriptionThis article was first published in the Wolverhampton Intellectual Repository and E-Theses (WIRE). There is no printed version.
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An overview of research on student support: helping students to achieve or achieving institutional targets? Nurture or De-Nature?Smith, Rob (Taylor & Francis, 2007)In the quasi-marketised environment of the new, mass higher education (HE), centralised policy continues to dictate conditions, and traditionally stable sources of income are being made increasingly unreliable. An increasing emphasis on student support within HE institutions (HEIs) has been made necessary by targets for student numbers and the funding that rests on these numbers. These tensions have been added to for 'post-1992' universities, by the Widening Participation initiative that brings with it particular issues around recruitment and retention. Rather than focusing on the models and systems of support that are being developed in different HE settings and their effectiveness, the aim of this paper is to theorise the imperatives behind these, to look again at the context that informs their inception and how the various support structures position and identify students. Through this, the tensions that exist between financial incentives, 'bums on seats', Widening Participation and academic achievement rates will be explored.
Student drop-out: an investigation into reasons for students leaving Bioscience programmes in one new university, over a period of five years.Allan, Joanna; Bentley, Hilary (Stafford: Staffordshire University, 2006)The impetus for supporting the development of students’ learning in higher education (HE) comes as a result of the impact of a range of factors affecting the profile of undergraduate students world-wide. In the UK, the widening participation agenda is a key driver that is predicated on the premise that ‘we cannot afford to waste talent simply because of a reluctance to foster it’ (HEFCE, 2006: 9). In seeking to address the discrepancies in the participation rates between different social classes, universities in the UK are offering fair access to HE to disabled students, mature students and men and women from all ethnic backgrounds. Modern universities (founded post- 1992) especially have found that large numbers of students now come from non-traditional backgrounds, and that there are difficulties associated with supporting and fostering learning where students’ prior educational experiences are very varied (Bamber and Tett, 2000; McInnis, 2001; Zeegers and Martin, 2001). There is little value for HE institutions in attracting students on to courses if they subsequently drop out of their studies, but the factors influencing attrition rates are both wide-ranging and complex.