The University routinely monitors education performance of its students. This monitoring provides a broad, high level, indication of quality. Previously reports focused on how many students passed courses on average, and the opposite, that is, how many failed; that is, a classical 'retention' report. Whilst this is a useful indicator, providing broad assurance, with our students on average passing course at about the same rate as universities in Australia and New Zealand, the Senior Management Team (SMT), felt this was too broad, with the possibility being that it failed to uncover issues at a more local level. The DVC LTSS developed and gained approval for a more detailed, nuanced, measure of the education performance for our students.
This consisted of 4 Education Performance Indicators (EPIs):
The evaluation looked at course pass rates in much greater detail than previously.
Interestingly, examination of course pass rates for undergraduate degree level students, show that there is little variation by mode, location, programme, or gender. What seems to be the main issue is whether or not students are studying part time or full time, with part timers generally less successful than their full time counterparts. This may be due to competing commitments (e.g., family, religious or work), making it difficult for part time students to manage their time. Another reason may be that part timers spend less time on campus, meaning that they are less likely to take advantage of student learning support services offered by their faculties. To help part time students, the University has invested heavily in an online student learning tutorial service, provided free to all students called Studiosity (formerly known as Your-Tutor). Our initial evaluation of the service shows students that use it say it is very helpful, and that it does increase their chances of success. All part time students are actively encouraged to make use of this dedicated, free, service.
A further study is now being conducted looking at individual courses, rather than averaging courses pass rates. This will establish which individual courses, by mode and location, have the highest failure rates, and examine ways of addressing this such as prerequisites, assessment, content, learning support, and teaching practice.