Higher Education Academy NTF Project: 2010/13 The Forgotten Year: Tackling the ‘Sophomore Slump’ Project team Clare Milsom, Martyn Stewart, Sue Thompson, Wayne Turnbull, Mantz Yorke, Elena Zaitseva The forgotten students Turning our attention to the second year experience Characteristics of the second year experience Strengthened course focus Low(er) academic self efficacy (Stuart Hunter et al.) Less informal social integration and involvement (Foubert and Grainger 2006) Increased absenteeism (Wilder 1993) Intense period of personal development “ I think that going from freshman to sophomore year is when you probably mature the most. If you look at yourself when you start college and then at the end of your sophomore year, you’ll see a big difference in how responsible you are in your priorities and how you manage stuff. It’s what makes you grow up, I’d say” [Student quoted in Gahagan & Hunter 2006] ‘Sophomore slump’ coined by Freedman (1956) Extends beyond education to a second effort not living up to former expectations: “second season syndrome”....... Difficult second album syndrome Period of developmental confusion and uncertainty? Liverpool John Moores University: student record data Undergraduate performance (2008) on 24 credit modules across the institution (7131 modules) What are the underlying factors? % Students achieving ‘good honours’ Level 2 performance dip 50 40 30 20 Series1 Level 1 36 Level 2 32 Level 3 46 Other findings: Levels 1 and 2: students perform significantly higher on Semester 1 modules Level 3: students perform best on 36 credit modules (usually dissertation modules) and least well on 12 credit modules. What factors might cause a 'slump' in performance? Causes? Support issues? “ Your freshman year – it’s not that you were babied, but it’s like there were so many things that were reaching out to freshmen that you come back to your sophomore year and it’s like you are on your own ” [Student quoted in Gahagan & Hunter 2006] Second year students perhaps receive the least attention. Has increased, front-loaded support at Level 1 made the second year a more difficult transition period? Sophomore success [Sheard & Golby 2007] Positive performance predicator Programme (major) commitment Level 2 Faculty staff interactions Level 2 Involvement in campus based activities Level 1 Institutional commitment Level 1 How can we target support for Level 2? on your experiences, what would 'targeted' support for IfBased performance picks up again at level 3….. If performance picks up again at level 3….. level 2 comprise? ……does ……doesititmatter? matter? If performance picks up again at level 3….. ……does it matter? NTF Project: 2010/13 The Forgotten Year: Tackling the ‘Sophomore Slump’ Liverpool John Moores University Project aims: 1. Characterise the dip: pervasive or local. Discipline effect? 2. Investigate causes and develop strategies for enhancing Y2 experience. 3. Develop a model for analysing institutional datasets worthy of transfer. Research design Strand 1: institutional facing Quantitative analysis of student record data. Strand 2: student facing Qualitative analysis of student experience and perception of curriculum structures. Key output for this audience... Consultancy service providing guidance on transforming student record datasets Thank you Any questions?