Duty, Dennis J. (2010) It’s not them it’s us: Adapting the institution to enhance student success and improve retention. In: What Works? Student Retention and Success, Wednesday 28th & Thursday 29th March 2010, University of York, UK. (Unpublished)

Retention solutions have historically focussed on helping students to adapt to the institution. At the University of Huddersfield in response to low year 1 to year 2 progression on the Business Degree an alternative approach was taken which focussed on adapting the institution. This involved changing the teaching delivery system on all first year modules to small group seminars from the classic large lecture.

Evaluation was based on using a mixed methodology. Statistical data were collected on student performance, attendance and progression for students that studied under the lecture system (2002 and 2003) and compared with those studying under the seminar system (2004-2008). Qualitative data were collected from second year students who were asked to compare their experiences of studying under the seminar system in year 1 to the lecture system of year 2.

The statistics indicate improvements in all 3 key metrics. 79% of the seminar group progressed compared to 71% of the lecture group and students with lower UCAS entry points achieve higher performance gains under the seminar system. Qualitative feedback indicated a strong preference for the seminar system with the main benefits being the ability to engage with the tutor and a more conducive learning environment.

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