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Research & good practice

Student retention is inextricably linked with good quality student support, high levels of student satisfaction and a positive student experience. From May 2008 - July 2010 we benefited from a Student Retention officer who undertook a number of projects designed better to understand factors affecting retention and how we might improve practice in order to support retention of students.

Effective induction and transitional support, throughout the student lifecycle, can have a particularly positive impact on student retention - especially if care is taken not to overload students with information in the first few weeks of their academic career.

Induction and transitional support


Student Support and Retention: Models of Explanation and Good Practice, University of Manchester and UMIST, Patricia Clift, Curriculum Innovation/TaLSC, April 2003

List of Papers from literature search, 2009, available from the Teaching and Learning Support Office. 
Publications, reports etc used by the Retention Officer covering many retention-related topics.

Research by back on course, an independent advice and guidance service which aims to get students back into higher education

Presentation from back on course workshop, April 2012


We Tell Stories

This paper investigates the experiences of students with strong prior educational backgrounds during the 1st  and 2nd years of an undergraduate programme of study. It records and maps the positive and negative influences on them during this period of transition and identifies key areas of good practice and concern.

Students' course change decisions and outcomes

This study identified new undergraduate students who had changed their degree programme during their first year of study and investigated the reasons for the desire to change and the extent of their success in the new programme.

The study begins to inform and understanding of;

  • Why students might make an unsuccessful first choice of subject
  • What factors influence a student in making a choice to change course
  • What transforms an individual into a more successful student
  • What other factors are relevant beyond the change of discipline/ subject

Birds of a Feather

Making friends and establishing networks is an important factor in both student satisfaction and student retention.  International students are of interest because they are usually more separated from their established networks, and because many identify meeting British people as one reason for coming to study in England.  This research was aimed at understanding how contacts were made with the objective of informing good practice in terms of the ways we try to facilitate the development of communities of students.