In 2011 the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science presented their Strategic Agenda. Their purpose was to improve higher education in the Netherlands. One of their priorities was to improve student success. The Ministry offered the Dutch Universities the opportunity to demonstrate how they achieved this goal as stated in the so- called “performance agreements”. To stimulate the universities, the Ministry decided to allocate seven per cent of the university budget to achieve those objectives.
Student success has a qualitative and quantitative meaning. The quantitative definition entails the percentage of the students who passes their exams/ get their degree, the dropout rates and the number of study hours (study load) from one study year. The qualitative definition describes the development from an individual student (Nedermeijer, 2009). The National Student Union in the Netherlands describes student success as the development of the student and maturation of social awareness (LKkV, 2014). This research addresses both perspectives.
Increasing completion rates (less dropout and increasing the number of students obtaining their bachelor degree) is one of the priorities at Zuyd University of Applied Science (Zuyd University, 2014). Zuyd University of Applied Science is a university with 1700 employees, and 13.000 students in 50 different bachelor and master programmes. Zuyd University has taken 181 measures to improve student success.
This research focuses on the Department Commercial and Financial Management. The Department strives to achieve a student retention percentage off 70 % in the first year. However, the Department has not yet been able to achieve the goals of the university in relation to dropout and student retention. Despite several initiatives, the dropout rate in the first year is 45 per cent as measured in the period 2011-2016. For example, the Dept. already improved their information services, conducted intake interviews, reduced the number of students in one class and introduced a mandatory presence for students in order to decrease the dropout. Above all this faculty has the highest number of long-term students in comparison with other faculties.
In the Netherlands students have the right to take part in the study choice test. When a student applies for a study before May 1 the universities are required to provide those tests. To improve student success the management has changed the intake procedure and introduced guidance for each student individually following the intake. The results of these intake assessments are being used during coaching sessions. The scope of the current study is to evaluate the first results of this new policy.
In order to achieve better insights in the type of students that have chosen to start the education Commercial and Financial Management, the faculty has initiated a pilot with a new intake procedure (NOA- intakes) for the year 2016-2017. Proximally 80 students will start their bachelor study with this NOA intake; the other proximally 300 students will start with Kiesactief assessment.
Kiesactief assessment, which the faculty applied in previous years gives only insight in the competencies of the student. The NOA- assessment includes six sub tests and assesses topics like motivation, career- and educational orientation and competencies. Based on the assessment a report is written, which addresses the high and low scores of the student. Furthermore NOA conducts a risk profile for each individual student. Before a student starts with the study program the study-coach knows the dropout chance. The management of the faculty believes that the NOA- assessment in combination with tailor made guidance will improve student success.
The research question is: Has the tailor made guidance as a result of the NOA- assessment a better effect on student success in comparison with the Kiesactief assessment?
Landelijke Kamer van Verenigingen (LKvV), Interstedelijk Studenten Overleg (ISO) en Landelijke Studenten Vakbond (LSVb) (2014), Studiesucces: een nieuwe definitie, [Study succes, a new definition]. Utrecht. Nedermijer, J. (2009). Wat is studierendement (What is studentretention?). Retreived October 22, 2015 from http://www.studiesuccesho.nl Tinto, V (2012) Completing college, rethinking institutional action, Londen: The University of Chicago Press. Van den Bogaard M.E.D. (13 februari 2015), Towards an action-oriented model for first year engineering student success. A mixed methods approach (Dissertation, TBM, TU Delft). Delft: TU Delft. Zuyd University (2014), Jaarrapport 2014, Kunst van het Lesgeven [Year report 2014. The art of Education]. Retreived March 4, 2016 from https://www.zuydnet.nl/binaries/content/assets/zuyd-intranet/nl/over-zuyd/feiten-en-cijfers/zuyd-jaarverslag-2014.pdf
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