Activating student retention and success

Retaining students to achieve successful outcomes is arguably the most important performance indicator for any educational institution, yet remains one of the most complex and challenging of tasks. In today’s tertiary education landscape, student expectations, technology advancements, global student movement and the sheer numbers of people who want a tertiary qualification are all putting pressure on an education system that was designed for another era.

However, despite these massive shifts in context, the fundamentals of successful outcomes in tertiary education remain unchanged. Decades of research highlight the following 6 key factors leading to student attrition:

  • Poor preparation for tertiary education
  • Weak institutional and/or course fit
  • Unsatisfactory academic experience
  • Lack of social integration
  • Personal circumstances
  • Financial issues

At Navitas, all colleges, campuses and divisions are focused on retaining students to successful outcomes and there are many excellent initiatives underway in this area. As part of a 2020 Strategic Project on Student Retention, Learning & Teaching Services has been investigating and evaluating current practice both within our colleges and externally, with the aim of surfacing and sharing strategies that work and developing resources and tools for colleges and campuses to assist in their retention efforts.

One of the first outputs of this project, which aims to unpack the complex and interconnected factors that lead to student attrition, is the development of a ‘Student Retention Driver Tree’.

While there are many retention frameworks, this tool attempts to identify key factors that are known to impact student retention, and the drivers of those key factors, presented in a practical way that can assist colleges and teachers to identify areas of focus and/or provide a mechanism to map their current retention activities.

Below is an image of the Student Retention Driver Tree (click on it to open a larger version). Contribute to the continuing development of this driver tree via the discussion in Yammer.