22 SES 16 A, International Perspectives on Student Retention in Higher Education Part 1
Symposium to be continued in 22 SES 17 A
Given that the Europe 2020 strategy includes the goal of at least 40% of 30-34-year olds completing higher education, improving student retention should be an integral part of this strategy (CHEPS/NIFU, 2015a). It is unsurprising then, that student retention is very high on the policy agenda for 17 out of 35 countries across Europe (CHEPS/NIFU, 2015b). For educational institutions, student retention raises a range of profound concerns ranging from the financial sustainability of higher education to competition between institutions to the moral imperative for universities to enable people to be the best they can be (Thomas et al., 2017). For students of course, drop out can have significant emotional and financial implications for them and their families. Understanding and improving student retention is becoming a priority for researchers and educational practitioners.
The seminal work in this area was carried out by Tinto in 1975 whose Student Integration Model has since achieved what Davidson and Wilson (2013) call an almost paradigmatic status in the field (see for example, Rovai, 2003). Certainly, the concept that student retention rests on a foundation of successful social and academic integration brings to the fore a range of issues for practitioners and educators to attend to – goal commitment, student ability, transition and adaptation, supportiveness, interpersonal relationships, inclusivity and belonging, quality of teaching, for example.
While an overarching framework has appeal, context matters when trying to address and understand retention. Institution, discipline, organization of learning, year of study all influence student retention (Thomas et al., 2017). Davidson and Wilson’s (2013) reassessment of the Student Integration Model argues that the complex and multifaceted nature of student retention should be recognized when theorizing and acting to improve retention. They place importance on building an expanded understanding of student retention which takes into account the various circumstances of study and student: non-residential or residential study, part time or full time, non-traditional or traditional, distance learning or on-campus, age, family or work commitments, minority or mainstream. This range of influences requires an expanded theorization of the basis of retention which is sensitive to context. Educators working to improve retention would benefit from a more refined understanding of retention which takes into the varying outcomes across a range of student groups as well as teaching and learning contexts.
This symposium aims to build a contextually sensitive understanding of student retention by examining retention across a range of national, disciplinary and educational contexts. The symposium draws together eight papers from 7 nations, in subject areas spanning science, mathematics, engineering, health and social care, teacher training and engineering. Face-to-face education with more traditional students is examined as well as non-traditional students in distance learning contexts. The symposium will focus on three broad areas of interest to researchers and educator: understanding student drop out and retention, predicting student drop out and interventions to improve retention.
CHEPS/NIFU. 2015a. Dropout and Completion in Higher Education in Europe [Online]. Luxemborg: European Commission Available: http://supporthere.org/sites/default/files/dropout-completion-he_en.pdf [Accessed 12th of January 2017]. CHEPS/NIFU. 2015b. Dropout and Completion in Higher Education in Europe: Literature Review [Online]. Luxemborg: European Commission Available: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/education_culture/repository/education/library/study/2015/annex-1-literature-review_en.pdf [Accessed 12th of January 2017]. DAVIDSON, C. & WILSON, K. 2013. Reassessing Tinto's Concepts of Social and Academic Integration in Student Retention. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, 15, 329-346. ROVAI, A. P. 2003. In Search of Higher Persistence Rates in Distance Education Online Programs. Internet and Higher Education, 6, 1-16. THOMAS, L., HILL, M., O' MAHONY, J. & YORKE, M. 2017. Supporting student success: strategies for institutional change [Online]. London: Higher Education Academy. Available: https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/supporting-student-success-strategies-institutional-change [Accessed 20th of December 2017]. TINTO, V. 1975. Dropout from Higher Education: A Theoretical Synthesis of Recent Research. Review of Educational Research, 45, 89-125.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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