22 SES 06 D, Teaching, Learning and Assessment in Higher Education
Parallel Paper Session
Despite the enormous progress in increasing net graduation rates, Portugal is still comparing badly with most other European countries in what has to do with academic failure and survival rates in Higher Education (OECD 2010). As it had been stressed by some previous studies, failure in tertiary education occurs mostly in 1st. cycle (graduation) and above all among some 1st. year critical subjects. As a matter of fact academic success along individual trajectories depends a great deal upon some core 1st year subjects because of the syllabuses interdependency between sequential graduation years for leading subjects (Hanushek 1979; Lazear 2001; Kalb & Maani 2007).
The implementation of Bologna Chart has contributed to reinforce this trend as it led to shorter time duration for 1st. cycle completion though syllabuses’ extension and complexity remained identical most of times (EC 2010) . At the same time university becomes more and more attractive to new kind of students as the ones who need to combine work and study on account of the increasing budget constraints faced by most families. Accordingly academic failure has to be reconsidered not only on the basis of better diagnostic but also in what concerns new pedagogical challenges.
Academic failure in some of ISEG critical subjects had already been addressed throughout research developed by the Pedagogic Observatory (PO) of the Institute as we have developed in previous work (Fernandes & Chagas Lopes 2008; Chagas Lopes & Fernandes 2010). The joint influence exerted by the social and educational status of students’ parents, the relative success along previous schooling, the students’ situation towards income and work as well as the course schedules and other scholar arrangements, were then taken into consideration to investigate the main factors behind school failure in Economics I and Mathematics I. However, as we then emphasized almost no attention was then given to the influence exerted by students’ attitude and motivation towards the above disciplines. Likewise it was not possible to take into consideration, as we do now, some important behavioral and personal determinants of individual learning proposed and developed by the Social Cognitive Theory and the Self-Determination Theory: namely, the ones affecting intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, self-efficacy and attribution, value and outcome expectations (Bandura 1997; Nielsen 2009; Ryan 2009).
ISEG PO recently addressed a survey on attitudes towards Mathematics (SATM), which was adapted from the “Survey of Attitudes Towards Statistics”, SATS©, available from http://www.unm.edu/~cschau/satshomepage.htm. The survey was ministered to students enrolled in Mathematics I and its results allow us to go further into the precedent analysis. In this paper we investigate the joint effect exerted by the above mentioned objective factors and the attitudinal and motivational determinants now identified upon two main students’ profiles: the one of commitment and the other of stress and anxiety towards Mathematics I. We therefore obtain a more robust diagnostic of academic failure and derive accordingly a more comprehensive and – we hope – efficient pedagogical strategy towards failure.
References: • Bandura, Albert (1997), Self-efficacy: The Exercise of Control. New York: Freeman; • EC (2007), Key Data on Higher Education in Europe, Eurostat. • Chagas Lopes, Margarida & Fernandes, Graca, (2010), Success/Failure in Higher Education: how long does it take to complete some core 1st. year disciplines?," Journal of Research in Educational Sciences, 0(1): 32-50. • EC (2010), “Focus on Higher Education in Europe 2010: The Impact of the Bologna Process”, EURYDICE. • Fernandes, Graça & Chagas Lopes, Margarida, (2008) “ISEG undergraduate students: determinants of academic performance”, ECER Conference “From teaching to learning”, September, Gotemburg, Sweden. • Hanushek, E. A. (1979), Conceptual and Empirical Issues in the Estimation of Educational Production Functions, Journal of Human Ressources, 14(3): 351-388. • ISEG Pedagogic Observatory (2010), Report on the impacts of the Bologna Reform on Academic Success in ISEG, Conference Paper, ISEG, October 2010. • Kalb, G. and Maani, S. (2007), The Importance of Observing Early School Leaving and Usually Unobserved Background and Peer Characteristics in Analysing Academic Performance, WP nº 5/2007, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research. • Lüede, R. (2009), Less rather than more internationalization? Unintended effects of the Bologna Process, Revista de la Educación Superior, Vol XXXVIII (3), Nº 151. • Nielsen, Hallgeir (2009), Influence on Student Academic Behaviour through Motivation, Self-Efficacy and Value-Expectation: An Action Research Project to Improve Learning, Issues in Informing Science and Information Technology, Volume 6. • OECD (2010), Factbook 2010: Economic, Environmental and Social Statistics. • OECD (2011), Education at a Glance. • Parri, J. and Aas, K. (2006), “National examination scores as predictors of university students’ performance in Estonia”, University of Tarty, Trames, 10(60/55), 3, 255-267. • Ryan, Richard (2009), Self-determination Theory and Wellbeing, Wellbeing in Developing Countries nº1, 2009.
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