02 SES 07 C, Adult Learning: Second Chance, Segregation, Citizenship And Support Service Provision
Parallel Paper Session
In universities where significant numbers of students come from non-traditional backgrounds, and where an equally significant proportion of students have English as a second language, provision of learning support is essential to ensure success and progression, and to prevent attrition. This paper presents an evaluative study of the support services provided to undergraduate nursing students in two universities in the United Kingdom (UK). Both universities have significant numbers of students from non-traditional backgrounds and who have English as a second language, and both institutions have in place a large array of student support mechanisms.
There is an increasing amount of literature available internationally related to student support in higher education, especially within the context of high numbers of students who enter university as part of widening participation initiatives and/or who have English as a second language. The ‘massification’ of higher education (Guri-Rosenblit et al 2007) has provided educational opportunities to an ever-widening group of people. However, the increased numbers has led to the need for changes in the way support is provided to students. This is a global issue. A study undertaken by the American College Testing (ACT) into the role of academic and non-academic factors in improving retention in higher education, findings showed that non-academic factors, especially self-confidence and motivation to achieve, were the strongest reasons for student success in higher education (Lotkowski et al 2004). This study also found that students who are not provided with social and academic support are at risk of dropping out, highlighting the need for universities to provide a supportive academic environment. This supports Rivis (1996) who argued that changes in Government policy, patterns of entry and the organisation and delivery of education have focused attention on quality and effectiveness of the learning experience. This has also generated increased demands for student support, advice and guidance.
In summary, support for nursing students is an important issue especially for those institutions where there are significant numbers of students from non-traditional backgrounds. Since provision of this support can be resource-intensive, it is also important that universities have a clear idea of which support services are being used by students and how students perceive the effectiveness of these support services.
Aim The aim of the study was to measure the perceptions of students of the use and usefulness of the support mechanisms provided by their university. Three research questions were identified: 1. What is the profile of students who enter pre-registration nursing programmes at the two universities? 2. What support mechanisms are currently available to pre-registration nursing students at the two universities? 3. What are the students’ perceptions of the support services available to them?
This paper has been submitted for publication to a peer reviewed journal.
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