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Durham e-Theses
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The Selection of Potential Undergraduate Students who Lack Traditional Qualifications: is a toolkit possible?

MORETON, IAN,STUART (2017) The Selection of Potential Undergraduate Students who Lack Traditional Qualifications: is a toolkit possible? Masters thesis, Durham University.



Providing opportunities for entry to Higher Education for students who lack those traditional academic qualifications on which selectors routinely base their decisions is an essential element of Widening Participation initiatives. Decisions about who should be offered the opportunity tend to be based largely on the selector’s intuition. This thesis uses data from three sources: a review of the relevant literature, a phenomenographic survey, and a personal attributes survey, to identify characteristics linked to success for students, so that measures of these characteristics might be included in a toolkit to inform the selectors’ decision-making process.
The phenomenographic study was conducted among 12 Foundation Year teaching staff, 5 current Foundation Year students and 8 prospective Foundation Year students. The personal attributes survey was administered to 70 students enrolled on a range of Foundation Year programmes, progressing to degree courses across a broad disciplinary spectrum.
Quantitative data from the personal attributes survey were compared with The Foundation Centre’s standard measure of students’ success, the Average Weighted Mean of scores attained for all the modules, in a Pearson correlation analysis. These data were then combined with the qualitative data obtained in the phenomenographic study and data from the literature review, to suggest measurable characteristics that might be predictors of success.
The characteristics identified as relating to students’ success were conscientiousness, motivation (in various forms), self-efficacy, resilience, and readiness. There was, however, clear evidence that different characteristics, or different combinations of characteristics, may be needed by students following different academic disciplines.
The study concludes that a single toolkit would be unhelpful, but that a range of toolkits taking into account academic discipline, age-group and sex may be beneficial. Further, the study concludes that interventions for the remediation of perceived deficits in desirable characteristics should be imbedded in Learning and Teaching strategies and recommends further research aimed at the development of these interventions.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Keywords:Widening participation, HE admissions, student selection tools, foundation programmes.
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Education, School of
Thesis Date:2017
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:10 Apr 2017 12:58

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