22 SES 03 C, Employability and Transition to Work of Higher Education Graduates
Non completion and drop out among Portuguese Higher Education (HE) students remain high when compared to other European and OECD countries[EC (2007) Key Data on Education in Europe, OECD (2010, 2012) Education at a Glance]. Focusing upon one Portuguese HE institution – ISEG, the School of Economics and Management of the Technical University of Lisbon – we have systematically addressed school failure main determinants along the last years. For our research we relied on a robust longitudinal database built by the ISEG’s Pedagogical Observatory in articulation with the academic office. This data base has been combined with surveys specially addressed to students. Accordingly, we have been able to investigate the objective leading factors behind first year’s and the whole graduation’s academic failure as well as the subjective determinants associated to students’ beliefs, motivation and expectations towards the subjects more affected by retention (Mathematics and Statistics), among other related topics. However, and except for some unstructured interviews, we did not get information on faculty’s opinion relatively either to failure determinants or pedagogical measures they have been developing to foster students’ motivation and academic success. In the present study we address this latter lacking dimension in our global study. Being aware of the relatively high resilience ability expressed by Portuguese teenager (OECD 2012) and HE students when supported by high motivating and particularly challenging learning frameworks, we designed and addressed to ISEG’s faculty a survey especially focused on those pedagogical dimensions. Our theoretical framework derives mostly from recent developments in social learning theories and their approaches on intrinsic motivation, self-efficacy and control (Bandura 1997),Waxman, H., Gray, J. and Padron, Y. (2003) and Fredericks, Blumenfeld and Paris (2004) on resilience and academic engagement as multifaceted constructs, Lotkowski, Robbins and Noeth (2004) on pedagogical measures and learning support initiatives specially addressed to HE first year students, Clark (2007) on the importance of the role played by early alert and intervention systems and Balfanz (2009) on fostering motivation and engagement throughout real-life related syllabi contents and examples. By providing an integrated theoretical approach on different strategies for students’ motivation and their correspondence to deep and surface learning, Nilsen’s (2009) research has been closely followed by us. Finally, Biggs and Tang (2011, 4th. Ed.) helped us in establishing the adequate methodology to encompass the correspondence between learning objectives, pedagogical measures and adequate assessment methodologies on the basis of which we designed the faculty survey and developed the analysis of the corresponding results. Our main conclusion is that despite the increasing role pedagogies addressed to enhance intrinsic motivation, self efficacy and autonomy are displaying, a large number of disciplines – most of which with high retention and drop out indicators - are still relying upon most traditional pedagogical methodologies with an important emphasis on fostering external control, extrinsic motivation and repetitive discrete assessment.
References: *Balfanz, R. (2009). Putting Middle Grade Students on the Graduation Path: A Policy and Practice Brief. National Middle School Association (http://www.amle.org/portals/0/pdf/research/research_from_the_field/policy_brief_balfanz.pdf). *Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: the exercise of control. New York: Freeman. *Biggs, J. & Tang, C. (2011). Teaching for Quality Learning at University (4th. Edition), Open University Press, England: Mc Graw Hill (382 pp.). *Chagas Lopes, M. & Leão Fernandes, G. (2012). A comprehensive approach towards academic failure: the case of Mathematics I in ISEG graduation, ECER 2012 (http://ideas.repec.org/e/plo99.html). *Chagas Lopes, M. & Leão Fernandes, G. (2011). Interruptions and failure in Higher Education: evidence from ISEG-UTL (http://ideas.repec.org/e/plo99.html). *Clark, J. (2007). Retention: A Selected Critical Inventory of Best Practices. (http://www.csus.edu/oir/Retention%20and%20Graduation/Retention%20and%20Graduation%20Initiatives/Retention%20Task%20Force/Critical%20Inventory.pdf ). *EC (2007). Key Data on Higher Education in Europe (http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/education/eurydice/documents/key_data_series/088EN.pdf ). * Fredericks, J., Blumenfeld, Ph. & Paris, A. (2004). School Engagement: Potential of the Concept, State of the Evidence. Review of Educational Research, Spring 2004, Vol. 74, Nº1, pp. 59-109. * Lotkowski, V.A., Robbins, S.B. & Noeth, R.J. (2004). The role of academic and non-academic factors in improving college retention: ACT policy report, ACT Inc. (https://campustest.uwsp.edu/sites/). *Nilsen, H. (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, vol 6 (http://iisit.org/Vol6/IISITv6p545-556Nilsen598.pdf). *OECD (2010; 2012). Education at a Glance (http://www.oecd.org/edu/highereducationandadultlearning/educationataglance2010oecdindicators.htm ) and (http://www.oecd.org/edu/eag2012.htm ). * Waxman, H., Gray, J. & Padron, Y. (2003). Review of research on educational resilience. Washington, DC: Center for Research on Education, Diversity and Excellence.
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