Enabling student success is a key strategic priority of the National Forum. The National Forum understands student success as more than access, progression and completion rates.  Helping students to achieve success and attain a quality educational experience is the responsibility of everyone in higher education.

A sectoral focus on teaching for transitions provided key insights on how transition periods  can be successfully supported in higher education. , The National Forum facilitated conversations  exploring assessment OF/FOR/AS learning and developed nationally recognised principles of assessment. These principles support innovative, engaging, collaborative, learner-oriented and integrated approaches to assessment that take account of the complex dynamics and requirements of higher education.

The focus of the National Forum’s work to December 2021 is on building sectoral consensus as to what constitutes student success in different contexts and at different stages. The Forum will also identify and share best practice and support the use of learning analytics, survey data, pilot projects, and a range of partnerships to enable student success.

Student Success Publications

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Student Success Projects

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Online Resource for Learning Analytics (ORLA)

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Defining Student Success

Higher education can open up a myriad of doors for students of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. Through it, students can simultaneously deepen their learning and broaden their horizons. They can grow as citizens and flourish as individuals. They can uncover talents and abilities that they never knew they possessed and build the foundations for lifelong personal and professional development.

Student success cannot be measured through progression and completion rates alone. Success means different things to different students at different points in their journey through higher education. Success lives as much in the corridors of an institution as it does in the classroom or in the curriculum.

Students are most likely to thrive in institutions which value learning as important for all members of the institutional community. For students to succeed, the learning of teaching and support staff must also be well-supported. Underpinning policies and strategies must be accessible, transparent, responsive and situated in practice. Intra-institutional collaboration is key, as is the fostering of an institutional culture in which students are partners both individually, in their own learning, and collectively as key stakeholders in the institution’s vision and mission. Institutions focused on student success also recognise the value of their data as an evidence base for driving continuous improvement and for proactively and dynamically identifying and responding to student needs.

Policy Context

Among its goals and objective, the Action Plan for Education focuses on improving the learning experiences and success of learners and promoting high quality learning experiences in higher education. Building on this, many objectives in the HEA’s Higher Education System Performance Framework contribute to different aspects of student success. Objectives related to employability, internationalisation, academic excellence and research and innovation all underpin a higher education system which endeavours to ensure all students reach their potential. Specifically, the Framework also requires every institution to have a Student Success Strategy in place by 2020, which will embed a whole-of-institution, strategic approach to enabling success. The HEA recently hosted a workshop, led by the National Forum, which explored what an effective student success strategy might look like in the context of the need for a whole-of-institution approach.