Notes for Guidance Tutors to accompany the At Risk Diagnostic Test

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1 Notes for Guidance Tutors to accompany the At Risk Diagnostic Test This is an initiative which provides the means for full-time first year students to self-assess their chances of success in the First Year of their degree programme via a short two-part questionnaire. The objectives of this diagnostic test are to: help make students aware of the issues that affect student performance; enable students to think about how many of the issues apply to them; indicate what students can do to improve things for themselves. Diagnostic test - Part One This includes a questionnaire and a score sheet for the responses. Part One of the diagnostic test should be completed during induction. The scoring can either be undertaken at that time or during a later guidance interview. The completed test should be retained by the Guidance Tutor. Diagnostic test - Part Two This includes a questionnaire, a score sheet for the responses and an explanatory sheet for the final diagnostic test score. Part Two of the diagnostic test should be completed during a one-to-one guidance interview. The student s final score is the sum of the Part One and Part Two scores and is linked to an at risk status. Note that a student with a high risk of failing to progress will manifest a low total score from the diagnostic test and vice versa. Students with scores up to 40 tend to progress at a rate of 35%, those with between at a rate of 65% and those with a score of 54 or more at a rate of 90%. The Administration of the Test We strongly recommend that :- students give their informed consent before beginning the diagnostic test. the self-assessment is used as a focus for discussion and, where the score is low, that the outcome should be a personal plan for reducing risk linked to pointers to help sources (e.g. Student Services, Student Association, academic staff members etc.). those students with low scores are reminded that many students with low scores are still successful and that the purpose of the exercise is to both inform them where problems may exist and to encourage them to be proactive in seeking out help. A low score does not imply that there is no hope - merely that the hurdles are perhaps a little higher. the test should be used with all students on the programme and not just those considered to be at risk. the Guidance Tutor should retain the completed tests, so that students do not go on to administer the test to their friends. Students should have access to a calculator for adding up the score.

2 Factors affecting student performance in the first year. Welcome to Napier University. Napier University wants all students to be successful and to enjoy and benefit from their studies. Inevitably some people will do better than others and this is in part because of factors which are known to affect student performance in the first year of a degree programme. Based on these factors, as part of a general programme for promoting excellence, Napier has devised a questionnaire with the following objectives: to make you aware of the issues that affect student performance; to allow you to think about how many of them apply to you, and thus your strengths and weaknesses ; to point to actions you can undertake to improve things for yourself. Each answer you give to the questions in the questionnaire is scored for its likely effect on successfully completing the first year. The higher the score, the more characteristics you exhibit which are known to contribute to student success. It is important to remember that many students with low scores still go on to complete their first year successfully and so a low score does not mean that you will not progress to the second year. Similarly having a high score does not guarantee success and so it is important not be complacent. It is also important to realise that this questionnaire measures only some of the factors known to affect student success. There are lots of factors which influence progression which cannot yet be measured - including motivation, compatibility and determination. This questionnaire is in two parts. The first part should be completed now and the second part will be completed when you meet your Guidance or Year Tutor for the first time. Note that this questionnaire does not ask for information about your qualifications other than Highers or A Levels. This is because students entering with other types of equally valuable qualifications were too small a group to be statistically valid when devising this questionnaire.

3 Information Sheet Name Programme This information sheet will be used by your Guidance Tutor to learn more about you. Please answer these questions honestly. Score Questions 1. How old were you at the beginning of October? 18 years or less 19 to 23 years 24 or more years 2. If you have Highers, how many do you have? (If you have both Highers and A Levels then calculate 1 A Level = 2 Highers and select the nearest category below) or more 3. If you have A Levels (and no Highers), how many A Levels do you have? or more 4. Did you gain your place through clearing? No Yes 5. Did family expectations contribute to your reasons for choosing to study in Higher Education? No Yes 6. Would you say that one of the reasons for deciding to go on to Higher Education was that you didn t want to work full-time yet? Yes, I preferred going to university to working full-time No, I would have been just as happy to get a full-time job 7. Did you come to Napier in order to study a particular course? No Yes 8. Did you choose to come to Napier because it was convenient to home? No Yes Now please score your responses to the questions Total Score

4 Score Sheet for Information Sheet 1. Age group 18 years or less 0 19 to 23 years 2 24 or more years No.of Highers (or Highers and A Levels) or more No. of A Levels (no Highers) or more Clearing No 3 Yes 0 5. Family expectations No 10 Yes 0 6. No wish to work full-time Yes 8 No 0 7. Came to do a particular programme No 0 Yes 7 8. Convenient to home No 0 Yes 5

5 Factors affecting student performance in the first year. Napier University wants all students to be successful and to enjoy and benefit from their studies. Inevitably some people will do better than others and this is in part because of factors which are known to affect student performance in the first year of a degree programme. Based on these factors, as part of a general programme for promoting excellence, Napier has devised a questionnaire with the following objectives: to make you aware of the issues that affect student performance; to allow you to think about how many of them apply to you, and thus your strengths and weaknesses; to point to actions you can undertake to improve things for yourself. Each answer you give to the questions in the questionnaire is scored for its likely effect on successfully completing the first year. The higher the score, the more characteristics you exhibit which are known to contribute to student success. It is important to remember that many students with low scores still go on to complete their first year successfully and so a low score does not mean that you will not progress to the second year. Similarly having a high score does not guarantee success and so it is important not be complacent. It is also important to realise that this questionnaire measures only some of the factors known to affect student success. There are lots of factors which influence progression which cannot yet be measured - including motivation, compatibility and determination. This questionnaire is in two parts. You should have already completed the first part during Induction (your tutor should have a copy) and the second part should be completed now in the presence of your Guidance or Year Tutor who, if necessary, will help you devise a plan of action to help you successfully complete the year. You should add the points you gained in both parts of the questionnaire to obtain your final score. Remember that there are lots of people within the University that can provide help and support, and academic staff want you to succeed just as much as you do.

6 Guidance Interview Questionnaire Name Programme This questionnaire will be used by your Guidance Tutor to learn more about you. Please answer these questions honestly.. Score carried over from the Information Sheet (first part of the questionnaire) Score Questions 1. What type of accommodation do you stay in? At home Napier-owned accommodation Private accommodation sharing with other students only Other 2. How long does it normally take to travel from where you stay during term-time to your normal Napier site? Less than 15 mins 16mins to 1 hour More than 1 hour 3. If you have a job during term-time, for approximately how many hours are you normally employed each week? None 1-10 hrs hrs 16+hrs 4. How many hours of academic study do you expect to do in a week (including timetabled hours)? Less than 25 hrs hrs 36+ hours 5. Do you worry that lack of money might force you to leave your programme? No Yes 6. Since coming to Napier, have you considered changing your programme? No Yes, and I have changed Yes, but I haven t changed Now score your responses and put your scores in space provided above. Remember to add on your score from the first part of the questionnaire. Total Score

7 Score sheet for Guidance Interview Questionnaire 1. Accommodation At home 0 Napier accommodation 7 Sharing other students only 0 Other 4 2. Commuting time Less than 15 mins 0 16mins to 1 hour 4 More than 1 hour 2 3. Hours of employment None hrs hrs 6 16+hrs 0 4. Hours of study Less than 25 hrs hrs hours Money worry No 4 Yes 0 6. Considered changing programme No 12 Yes, and changed 10 Yes, but not changed 0

8 What your Total Score Means 0-40 Some people find the student experience more challenging than others for a variety of reasons. If your score is 40 or less it is possible that you are one of them. This does not mean that you will not succeed, only that the hurdles may be a little bit higher. With your Guidance Tutor, Programme Leader or Year Tutor, have another look at the questionnaire to identify where you scored low numbers of points. Some of these things can be changed and some can t. Are there any that you could reasonably change? For example could you reduce your number of hours of employment or increase the number of hours of academic study? Would it help to apply to the Access Fund? Your Guidance Tutor, Programme Leader or Year Tutor will help you put together an action plan and where necessary point you to other sources of help within the university such as Student Services, the Students Association and academic support classes. Being proactive in seeking out appropriate help and support is an important part of a successful first year so please don t feel shy about it. For further ideas about sources of advice and support, try reading the booklet What am I doing here anyway? which you may already have been given. If you don t have a copy, you can pick one up at any of the main campus receptions. Good luck and remember that if you really want to succeed, you will If your score places you into this category, then the good news is that you already have many of the characteristics and are doing many of the things that predict success in the first year. However, you may still find some aspects of the student experience a bit of a challenge. With your Guidance Tutor, Programme Leader or Year Tutor, have another look at the questionnaire to identify where you scored low numbers of points. Some of these things can be changed and some can t. Are there any that you could reasonably change? For example could you reduce your number of hours of employment or increase the number of hours of academic study? Would it help to apply to the Access Fund? Your Guidance Tutor, Programme Leader or Year Tutor will help you put together an action plan and where necessary point

9 you to other sources of help within the university such as Student Services, the Students Association and academic support classes. Being proactive in seeking out appropriate help and support is an important part of a successful first year so please don t feel shy about it. For further ideas about sources of advice and support, try reading the booklet What am I doing here anyway? which you may already have been given. If you don t have a copy, you can pick one up at any of the main campus receptions. Good luck and remember that if you really want to succeed, you will. 54 or more Lucky you, it appears that you have a sound foundation for a successful first year. However, remember that a high score doesn t guarantee success, so don t think that you can take things easy from now on! If you should need any help, advice or support at any time, remember that your Guidance Tutor, Year Tutor or Programme Leader is the first person to approach. They can point you to other sources of help if necessary. Being proactive in seeking out appropriate help and support is an important part of a successful first year so please don t feel shy about it. For further ideas about sources of advice and support, try reading the booklet What am I doing here anyway? which you may already have been given. If you don t have a copy, you can pick one up at any of the main campus receptions.

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