Retention and success
'Retention’ in the UK refers to students remaining within one HE institution and completing their programme of study within a specific timeframe. ‘Success’ recognises that students benefit from HE study in a wider range of ways, including personal development and progression into the labour market or further learning.
We work with institutions and other bodies to develop evidence-informed approaches to improving the retention and success of all students. We have a programme of work to disseminate research and support institutional development.‘
Retention and success also involves inclusion. By ‘inclusion' we mean the enabling of full and equitable participation in and progression through higher education for all prospective and existing students.
Although it is a relatively new concept in the sector, many institutions are seeking to move towards more inclusive policies and practices and away from remedial interventions. We work closely in partnership with institutions and sector bodies to promote cultural change and practices that enhance the learning experience.
The term ‘inclusion' unites much of our work described in our resource pages - see right-hand side of this page.
News and events
What works? Student retention and success change programme (Phase 2: 2012-15)
The Higher Education Academy is working with Action on Access to deliver Phase 2 of the What works? Student retention and success programme. The Programme is funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation; this second phase was managed in its first year by the Academy's Change team and moved to Retention and Success in September 2013. Click on the above link for further information about the Programme and participating institutions.
The second volume of the Compendium of effective practice includes a wide range of contributions each focusing on enhancing student engagement and belonging within higher education. Although mainly UK focused, overseas contributions include those from Africa, Canada and Bahrain.
The second volume of the compendium is divided into six main sections which include: Transition; Learning and teaching; Supporting students; Participation and belonging; Utilisation of data and ICT: Strategic change. Each of these sections comprises a number of academic papers which, through citing examples of good practice, identify and critique 'what works'. By providing ‘real life’ examples of how organisational change can promote good practice and improve the student learning experience, the second volume of the Compendium provides insight into how colleagues are riding the current external environment in a professional and innovative manner.
A useful and useable tool, together the two volumes of the Compendium encapsulate a wide range of different and exciting practical approaches which may be adopted and adapted by colleagues seeking to bring about positive change.
The first volume can be found here
The HEA has recently published a synthesis of US literature relating to the retention, progression, completion and attainment of black and minority ethnic (BME) students in HE. This synthesis, written by Dr Jacqueline Stevenson and Pauline Whelan, Leeds Metropolitan University, seeks to evidence the data relating to the retention, progression, completion and attainment of ethnic minority undergraduate students in the US and, in doing so, draw out implications for UK stakeholders. To access the document please click on the above link or via the link to the right.