Quality of learning
This literature features support for embedding academic, literacy and numeracy skills into curriculum and identifying student academic needs through early assessment.
Devlin, M., & O'Shea, H. (2012). Effective university teaching: Views of Australian university students from low socio-economic status backgrounds. Teaching in Higher Education, 7(4), 385-397. doi:10.1080/13562517.2011.641006
This study of 53 students from LSES backgrounds uses a success-focused methodology to determine the factors contributing to retention and progression through the first year of university study. Interviewed participants identified characteristics of effective teaching and teachers that met measures reflected in current literature and the ALTC criteria.
The most frequently reported attribute to contribute to success was the approachability and availability of teachers to help. The study also found teacher enthusiasm, communication skills and the clarification of assessment requirements were factors for student success. These findings provide valuable evidence-based information in guiding the development of university policy and practice.
Crosling, G., Heagney, M. & Thomas, L. (2009). Improving student retention in higher education: Improving teaching and learning. Australian Universities' Review, 51(2), 9-18.
This paper acknowledges the importance of the retention of students as a key performance indicator in quality assurance processes. Student attrition has financial implications for students, their families, society and the institution. The authors argue that while institutional statistics may be limited in value, continuous improvement in quality of learning and teaching will impact quality assurance activities and, in turn, effect statistical improvement.
Using curricula as a platform to implement integrated strategies to engage students should be inclusive of active learning, formative assessment, academic support and effective induction programs.
Kift, S. (2009). Articulating a transition pedagogy: First year curriculum principles
This document is a two page statement of six broad guiding principles for curriculum design to support the first year experience. The principles aim to facilitate student success through mediating and supporting transition, recognising diversity, curriculum design, learning engagement, transition to assessment and evaluation of curriculum to improve student learning.
This is a useful resource to guide first year curriculum design to enable the successful transition to university study.
Walker, A. (2014). Curriculum retention and programming for inclusive teaching. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, (140), 77-84.
As student cohorts in higher education continue to diversify, this paper seeks to address retention rates through equity and inclusiveness in curricula design. The author argues curriculum reform is necessary to meet the need of the student body and to reflect students' changing thoughts and experiences. Establishing learning environments acknowledging student experiences, culture, past teachings can facilitate comprehensively designed and implemented programs. This paper draws on the authors practice as an example of developing a student-centered, inclusive teaching practice.
Assessment of academic needs
Gill, B. (2015). Talking about the elephant in the room: Improving fundamental assessment practices. Student Success, 6(2), 53-63. doi:10.5204/ssj.v6i2.291
This article explores how first year assessment practices, central to the student experience in developing conceptions of self as students, can be substantially improved by implementing a systematic application of fundamental good practice strategies at an institution level.
The author draws from a 2013 audit process at UWS and analysis of student feedback on the assessment experience to inform a strategy including whole-of-course assessment scheduling, considering the total student workload, and clarity in assessment information.
Gill argues the strategies implemented at UWS are achievable without additional investment other than intentionally and coherently designing planned and scheduled curriculum, including assessment, through a 'whole-of-course' approach.