Tracking the student and graduates. Michael Gaebel European University Association (EUA)

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1 Tracking the student and graduates Michael Gaebel European University Association (EUA)

2 800 individual universities 34 national Rectors Conferences in 47 European countries 17 Mill. students

3 European University Association NGO independent EUA Secretariat in Brussels European policy European Research Area European higher education Area Project work 3

4 TRACKIT Project Consortium European University Association HIS, Germany Lund University, Sweden University of the Peloponnese, Greece Aarhus University, Denmark Irish Universities Association Co-funded by the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Union

5 Project theme Tracking students and graduates after graduation (into employment, further study) student during their studies: performance, dropout? before they enter the university (?)

6 Why this project? Bologna Process system change Growing external pressures data student care how do higher education institutions know

7 TRENDS 2010 Report: A decade of change in European Higher Education How successful is the Bachelor degree (1 st cycle)? At this stage, it is not possible to gain any helpful picture of the prospects of Bologna first-cycle graduates, as long as systems to track graduates of all cycles are not in place. Tracking graduate employment is still not done systematically by all institutions (37%) or on a national level Institutions that expect most of their first cycle graduates to enter the labour market are more likely also to have a tracking system in place. 7

8 External (and internal) pressures to higher education institutions growing importance of higher education high stakes growing and diverse societal demands towards higher education (labour market, creative and skilled workforce, research competition, knowledge society) growing importance of learning and teaching (strategic goal) system development: continuous enhancement of programmes, institutions, systems trend towards outcome orientation, assessment new governance models accountability and transparency decision makers count on data evidence based policy making

9 Changing context of and conditions for higher education learning growing participation a diverse studentship student-centred approach flexibilisation of study paths: mobility (place), lifelong learning (time) modularisation & learning outcome orientation labour market relevance employability quality assurance technical development

10 Balance different quality imperatives Generic skills Academic knowledge 10

11 The TRACKIT Project

12 Main focus and key questions How is tracking done? What is the use - are the impacts? Good practice? Challenges, risks European dimension? What is tracking?

13 From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Tracking can refer to: Animal migration tracking by attaching a tag to the animal. Tracking (education), separating children into different classes according to their academic ability Tracking, in computer graphics, a vital part of match moving Tracking, in portfolio management, matching or comparing with a stock market index Tracking, in automotive engineering, a synonym for Toe (automotive) Tracking, a subject of dead reckoning, concerning setting up a track on other objects momentarily viewed from the observer's own location Tracking (typography), the process of uniformly increasing or decreasing the space between all letters in a block of text The purpose of a satellite tracker (disambiguation) Tracking (commercial airline flight), the means of tracking civil airline flights in realtime. Tracking (hunting), the science and art of learning about a place via animal trails and other environmental evidence Tracking (Scouting), a Scouting activity

14 What is tracking? Systematic approach to gather and employ data on students and graduates

15 Project approach Desk study Mapping: questionnaire to National Rectors Conferences in 32 HE systems/ 31 countries Institutional practice: visits to 23 higher education institutions in 11 countries Conference + workshop

16 Institutions hosting site visits Belgium: Vrije Universiteit Brussel; Université Catholique de Louvain; KU Leuven Estonia: Tallinn University of Technology; University of Tartu France: University Lille1; Paris Creteil University Germany: Technical University of Berlin; Free University of Berlin; University of Applied Sciences Leipzig Hungary: Semmelweis University; King Sigismund College Ireland: Dublin City University; University College Dublin Romania: University of Bucharest; Dimitrie Cantemir Christian University Spain: Autonoma de Madrid; University Carlos III de Madrid Sweden: Lund University; University of Gothenburg Turkey: Istanbul Technical University; Sabanci University UK: University of Surrey

17 TRACKIT report findings

18 Tracking methods

19 Tracking in Europe National level* students graduates 23 systems 26 systems No or no info AT, BE-NL, CZ, DE, DK, EE, ES, FI, FR, HU, IE, IT, LT, LU, MT, NL, NO, PL, PT, SE, SL, SK, UK 9 systems BE-FR, BG, CY, FL, GR, IS, LV, RO, TR AT, BE-FR, BE-NL, CZ, DE, DK, EE, GR, ES, FI, FR, HU, IE, IT, LT, MT, NL, NO, PL, PT, RO, SE, SL, SK, TR, UK 6 systems BG, CY, FL, IS, LV, LU Institutional level students graduates 30 systems 28 systems No or no info AT, BE-FR, BE-NL, BG, CY, CZ,DE,DK, EE, GR, ES, FI, FR, HU, IE, IT, LV, LT, LU, MT, NL, NO, PL, PT, RO, SE, SL, SK, TR, UK 2 systems FL, IS AT, BE-FR, BE-NL, BG, CY, CZ, DE, DK, EE, GR, ES, FI, FR, HU, IE, IT, LV, LT, MT, NL, NO, PL, PT, RO, SE, SL, SK, UK 4 systems FL, IS, LU, TR

20 Tracking in Europe In most countries tracking exist Compulsory incentivised prescribed by law part of the reporting requirments, QA, funding allocations Different intensity, use/purpose, methods Focus on graduates, or students or both Is the data used: communicated, discussed, followed-up Mature and emerging approaches / technological progress

21 National or institutional approaches? Pro s and con s National level approaches: Standardised, agregeated data, comparable System s perspective Results general Impact Cost/benefit? Can institutions analyse the data at departmental level? Specific institutional needs Ability to react to change... Initiatives of individual institutions Tailor-made approaches Ownership of process and results Commitment Added value: e.g. Institutional data collection... Comparability of data? Resources? Sustainability?

22 National and European surveys A great means for addressing a wider public - comparability? Of limited use for institutions Link to the institution weak or not existent Small samples, not differentiating faculties and departments Too abstract - in particular, in absence of institutional data

23 Shared approaches Often, national and institutional approaches are interlinked: institutions gather data aggregated and processed at national level Partnership between national + institutional level National level, largely standardised approach Provides data for the institution Complementary measures at institutional level Coordination national bodies And/or: university networks, national rectors conferences, research institutions etc.

24 An emerging approach?

25 Impact and prospects

26 Some challenges and risks Poor analysis - insufficient contextualisation quick conclusions Information only? Not good enough Tracking results are not followed up Insufficient resources - costs Poor data collection (low participation in surveys, oversurveying) Students want to know results, but also see improvement Academic resistance? benefits of tracking Marketisation

27 Tracking - what is it good for? Blind spots international, mobile and lifelong learners Trends towards Alumni culture Improved technical means Difficulty of identifying and targeting risk group no information on social or ethnic background etc. data protection Does tracking tell about employability, drop out? Yes, but - no straightforward answers from the data rather: new questions

28 For example... Drop out Who is a drop out Study elsewhere? Better career without a degree... Lifelong learners Resource intensive surveys Data collection: low response rate Exit interview? How to prevent? Employability Data collection: low response rate Resource intensive surveys Graduate opinions... Employment: due to Learning success Good labour market situation Personal ability (intake/output)...

29 No quick fix, but Institutional awareness, discussion Information that feeds into a broader analysis Student surveys, focus groups with employers, alumni... Enhancement of teaching and services

30 Lessons learned Interplay system-level and institutions Get the data collection right (technical opportunities, but institutional coordination, purpose...) Data rich systems data collection capacity - institutional research Holistic, fit for purpose approaches Not research only Lifecycle tracking Increasingly diverse studentship Consider different access routes, study modes, incl. mobility, distance learning etc.

31 Tracking the student life cycle a trend? before entry first year towards completion after graduation forecast, study counselling, outreach initiatives, zero courses welcome survey, bridging courses, early alert, peer support counselling, support, career advice, exit survey surveys, focus groups, alumni activities data collection & analysis Institutional debate on learning & teaching

32 Positive impacts at system s & institutional level Better knowledge of student body and how students navigate higher education Underpins other institutional trends (Alumni, outreach to future students...) Enhanced evidence base for decision making Enhancement of learning provision and services Institutional governance + management, QA, strategy development Improvement of HE system

33 Feedback from institutions Institutional research - data collection: We did not know that we have so much data Sets of data that help institutions to understand and explain what they are doing Not one single data set that is good for all universities Knowledge/ information integration: Most of things we do are very good but we have not joined up the dots yet Awareness building, coordination and knowledge sharing Time to develop...

34 Guidelines for the development of institutional approaches to tracking 1. Create a coordinated and appropriate set of tracking measures 2. Ensure that the tracking approach covers the entire student lifecycle 3. Ensure that tracking supports the overall governance and management of the institution, and its strategic goals 4. Assess how tracking can contribute to the establishment of institution-wide key performance indicators 5. Consider how tracking measures corresponds to external demands

35 Guidelines for the development of institutional approaches to tracking 6. Built on existing external tracking approaches 7. Ensure the active participation and engagement of different parts of the institution 8. Consider the institutional capacities for research and data management and how the results can be utilised 9. Communicate and use the results for a variety of purposes 10. Ensure that tracking is anchored in quality assurance

36 European level Debate about methods Indicators? Benchmarking? but also key issues: Drop-out Employability Data collection So far no European level discussion on tracking

37 Your questions & comments

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