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ERIC Number: ED574387
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 132
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 476
Enhancing Access, Retention, Attainment and Progression in Higher Education: A Review of the Literature Showing Demonstrable Impact
Webb, Oliver; Wyness, Lynne; Cotton, Debby
Higher Education Academy
This report presents a synthesis of literature--published since 2008--that demonstrates significant impact in each of the key student outcomes of access, retention, attainment, and progression. This builds on a number of key Higher Education Academy (HEA) publications or projects from the past five years that have addressed issues associated with these four outcomes. In an era of increasing fees and aspirations to widen participation in UK higher education (HE), understanding what works to improve outcomes for different groups of students is vital (Harrison and Hatt 2012). Specifically, stakeholders are interested in four key moments in the student life-cycle: access to HE (the extent to which groups can gain entrance to different types of higher education institution); retention (participants' likelihood of continuing or withdrawing from study); attainment (the extent to which students are enabled to fulfill their potential; sometimes discussed in terms of achieving a 2.1 or first class degree); and progression (successful transitions within the programme of study and afterwards to employment or further study) (HEA 2015). This review locates and reviews a representative collection of empirical research that evidences "demonstrable impact" relating to each outcome, from which broad observations can be drawn about what works. The volume of material visited precluded in-depth discussion of each source; nonetheless, it is hoped that the review can serve a helpful function in signposting readers to relevant material, which they might wish to consult directly. The following are appended: (1) Search methodology and results; and (2) Proportion of sources that present effects for specific population groups (calculated from a sub-sample of retrieved sources).
Higher Education Academy. York Science Park, Innovation Way, Heslington, York Y010 5BR, United Kingdom. Tel: 01904 717500; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Higher Education Academy (HEA) (United Kingdom)
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom