Defining successful outcomes for students in colleges is a complex process, with the views of staff, students and employers all playing a vital role in shaping understandings of what we mean by success. This has been complicated by disruptions to learning through the pandemic, though it is by no means a new conversation.
In their College Sector Overview Report 2021/22 (p. 9), Education Scotland refer to declining attainment rates and increased withdrawal rates in full-time FE, noting that:
“In a number of colleges there are curriculum areas with persistently low rates of learner success, many of which pre-date the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of these colleges recognise that further work is required to identify and analyse the factors that contribute to learner withdrawal and low success rates.”
Achieving good outcomes for students is also a key underpinning feature in the final report of the SFC’s Review of Coherent Provision and Sustainability.
sparqs is therefore keen to explore how students and students’ associations can play their part in shaping colleges’ understanding of, and response to, these challenges, through feedback, representation and engagement processes at course and college level.
We therefore invited colleges and students’ associations to contribute to a project throughout 2023, to identify where and how particular groups, demographics, modes or courses can be a part of staff-student conversations that can address priorities in learner outcomes and success, develop knowledge and explore potential action.
This project involves learning and sharing between participating colleges on their particular priorities in learner outcomes, desk research into current analysis of the challenges and effective practice in this area, and, depending on the steer of participating colleges and students’ associations, the production of useful resources that can support informed staff-student conversations about enhancement of learner outcomes.
How to get involved!
To be involved in this project, please discuss with relevant colleagues across your college and students’ association, and contact Eve Lewis.