22 SES 16 A, International Perspectives on Student Retention in Higher Education Part 1
Symposium to be continued in 22 SES 17 A
The phenomena of retention and student dropout in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) has important social and economic effects both for students, and society itself (ALFA-GUIA Project, 2013; CINDA, 2006). Even though student retention is regarded as a significant issue (CHEPS/NIFU. 2015b; Ferreyra et al., 2017, OECD, 2016), there has not been a systematic review of research from across the LAC. There is a need for a review focusing on systematic and replicable empirical studies (Higgins & Green, 2011). To meet this need, this study aims to describe variables and factors related to retention and student dropout in Higher Education in LAC. Two independent researchers found and analyzed 81 articles in Spanish and Portuguese, published between 1990 and 2016, from 10 different countries and indexed in seven databases. The articles described 111 different variables related to retention. These variables were organized under the five factors suggested by the ALFA-GUIA Project (2013): Individual, Academic, Economic, Institutional and Cultural. The main conclusions are that concerns about retention have only recently emerged across the region. The recent increase in attention has resulted from the work of international organisations and their advancement of international rankings, quality measures, accreditation and so on. The review found that there is no consensus in the definition of retention/drop out, mainly due to the lack of theorized research, and the multi-causality, complexity and dynamism of the phenomenon. Consequentially, there are few homogeneous and comparable measurements between studies. Only 11% of the studies are “interventions” or “evaluation of interventions”. 42% of studies focused on “characterization of students”. Of the ALFA-GUIA Project factors, the most important was “Individual”, though the studies highlight the need to improve the quality of such measures especially when considering latent variables, adaptation and psychosocial factors. Academic and Institutional factors also emerged as significant and reveal the fundamental role that University Institutions have in decreasing dropout. Economic factors demand changes in the focus of the State and the financial support of the students. The paper concludes by emphasizing that improving retention requires action across all five ALFA-GUIA Project factors. Further research work is needed in understanding retention. In particular, even though cultural factors are theoretically well understood, they are very difficult to measure. Also, the relationship between factors could be better understood as Individual and Academic factors have several correlated variables.
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 January 23, 2018]. CINDA, UNESCO-IESALC, U. de Talca. (2006). Repitencia y Deserción Universitaria en América Latina [Online]. Santiago de Chile: CINDA-UNESCO-U. Talca. Available: https://www.cinda.cl/download/libros/Repitencia%20y%20Deserci%C3%B3n%20Universitaria%20en%20Am%C3%A9rica%20Latina.pdf [Accessed January 23, 2018]. Ferreyra, M., Avitabile, C., Álvarez, J., Haimovich, F., & Urzúa, S. (2017). At a Crossroads. Higher Education in Latin America And the Caribbean [Online]. Washington, DC: Banco Mundial. Available: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/26489/9781464810145.pdf?sequence=2&isAllowed=y [Accessed January 23, 2018]. Higgins, J. & Green, S. (editors). (2011). Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions Version 5.1.0. The Cochrane Collaboration. Available: www.cochrane-handbook.org. [Accessed January 23, 2018]. OECD (2016). Education at a Glance 2016: OECD Indicators [Online]. OECD Publishing, Paris. Available: http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/education/education-at-a-glance-2016_eag-2016-en#.WUklRWg1-Uk%23page1 [Accessed January 23, 2018]. Proyecto ALFA-GUIA (2013). Marco Conceptual sobre el Abandono [Online]. Grupo de análisis. Available: http://www.alfaguia.org/www.alfa/images/resultados/Marco_Conceptual_sobre_el-Abandono.pdf [Accessed January 23, 2018].
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
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