HEIR the forgotten students - LJMU 2nd Year Student Experience

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
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Other findings:
Levels 1 and 2: students perform significantly higher on Semester 1
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,
would 'targeted'
If performance
picks up again at level 3…..
2 comprise?
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
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?

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