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ERIC Number: EJ972086
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 32
ISSN: ISSN-0968-4883
Investigating Attrition Trends in Order to Improve Student Retention
Grebennikov, Leonid; Shah, Mahsood
Quality Assurance in Education: An International Perspective, v20 n3 p223-236 2012
Purpose: This paper aims to focus on the experience of monitoring of first year student attrition in a large metropolitan multi-campus university during 2004-2010. The paper seeks to discuss the trends in student attrition which have been found and identify key issues which have been and need to be addressed by the university in order to increase retention. Design/methodology/approach: A specially designed survey was repeated across the years and completed over the period by 2,085 undergraduate students who left the university before the end of their first year of study. Findings: The most important of issues which need to be addressed by the university are sufficient, correct and clear information provided to prospective students about the course before they enrol and high-quality course advice about subject choices after enrolment. Research limitations/implications: Sufficient, correct and clear information provided to prospective students about the course remains an area in need of improvement. Therefore, in marketing the university both locally and internationally, a particular focus needs to be on direct contact by knowledgeable staff with prospective students. Practical implications: Marketing of courses with support of academic staff, course advisers and program heads should give particular focus to the clear management of student expectations. Targeted marketing at the school/course level is needed in order to ensure clear and specific expectations management. This approach, if adopted, should help reduce attrition among those students for whom "the course wasn't what they expected". Social implications: Improving university student retention is one of the high-priority government targets in developed countries such as Australia, the UK and the USA. At the same time, higher education providers in these countries try to increase the participation of students from traditionally underrepresented groups of population in order to meet the aspirations of governments. The changes in policies and performance-based funding require universities to align the growth of numbers of students from underrepresented groups with a range of academic and general support services to support student transition, retention and completion. An important aspect for universities is to ensure that low entry standards do not compromise graduate exit standards. Originality/value: Evaluating attrition trends through systematic feedback from withdrawing students can help universities identify key issues which need to be addressed in order to increase retention. Further, it may help narrow down the list of such issues to one or two most persistent over a number of years. For example, for the university described in this study, the steadiest factor behind student attrition is quantity and quality of information provided to prospective students about the course before they enrol. If this issue is appropriately addressed, and provided all other important attrition factors are closely monitored, the university can significantly increase the likelihood of student retention and success. (Contains 2 tables and 5 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia