‘THE BEST YEARS OF YOUR LIFE’- University of Leicester to assess the skills and attributes students gain during studies

Posted by ap507 at Nov 03, 2016 10:45 AM |
New project examines learning gain

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 3 November 2016

University life is often described as the best time of your life – now the University of Leicester is taking part in a new study to assess the skills and attributes students gain during the course of their degrees.

Leicester is one of only 10 universities in the research project which forms a key element of HEFCE’s wider programme of work on learning gain.

Approximately 27,000 students will be invited to take part in a new longitudinal study, the National Mixed Methodology Learning Gain Project (NMMGP). This project will pilot a combination of methodological approaches to measuring learning gain.

In each year of their studies, participating students will be invited to complete an assessment, which will explore their:

  • critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • attitudes towards their study experience
  • engagement with their studies

The project will run between the 2016-17 and 2019-20 academic years.

Professor Jon Scott, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Student Experience), said: “The measurement of learning gain in its broadest terms has, for a long time, represented a real challenge to the higher education sector. As learning gain has come to the fore through the draft Higher Education and Research Bill and associated Teaching Excellence Framework, it is important for institutions to engage actively in the debate surrounding the proposed measures.

“As a University with a strong focus on enhancing the student learning experience, the University of Leicester is pleased to be an active participant in helping evaluate these approaches. The information gained will also be of significant benefit to both our staff and students in providing an externally referenced benchmark of learning gain.”

As part of the wider programme of work on learning gain, HEFCE has already funded 13 institutionally led pilot projects. This programme of work is contributing to ongoing debates about the quality and impact of higher education, and how to evidence students’ wider learning.

A detailed overview of the NMMLGP will be presented alongside findings from the first year of work within the learning gain pilot projects on Thursday 10 November at the HEFCE National Conference on Learning Gain.


Notes to editors:

1. The project draws broadly on the approach of a previous study undertaken in the US by the Centre of Inquiry at Wabash College (Wabash College study: www.liberalarts.wabash.edu/study-overview/). Using an online   assessment, it combines questions independently developed by Ernest Pascarella (Chair in Higher Education at the University of Iowa), Cambridge Assessment, and the Higher Education Academy, amongst others. The online assessment is being administered by IFF Research – more information about IFF Research is available here:  http://www.iffresearch.com/ .              

2. National Conference on Learning Gain: www.hefce.ac.uk/news/Events/Name,110460,en.html

3. HEFCE’s learning gain projects: www.hefce.ac.uk/lt/lg/projects/.

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