“Student Reflections about how Universities support High Level Student Achievement” (Area 2&4)

Will Bowen-Jones (EDU), Lerverne Barber & Nick Breeze (ISES)

This study seeks to better understand the extent to which recently graduated students perceive that their academic potential was realised during their studies. The work is set in the context of what is widely understood in the UK Higher Education sector to be a ‘good degree’ (i.e. a first or upper second class degree). Initial findings indicate that students have differing conceptions of achievement. This supports Hattie and Timperley’s (2007) assertion that the student experience is a complex issue, but a key aspect is their ability to understand how to access the available resources. The principal research question was: To what extent do students perceive their academic potential was realised during their undergraduate studies? Data was collected during 2014, in which a sample of students was asked a series of open-ended questions. The interview questions focused on their aspirations and achievements during their course. The most significant factor which supported academic progress was found to be supportive academic tutors – 62% reported this to be the case. Other significant factors included: effective tutor use of VLE; self-determination; creation of a positive learning environment and open access to online and print journals.


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