Student success pilot

The International College of Management, Sydney (ICMS) – ‘student success pilot’

Retaining students to successful outcomes is complex and challenging, however the fundamentals are well documented in the research. ICMS has developed a set of Student Success Levers, to target interventions to lift student outcomes:

Some specifically focus on building student capability to be successful in their studies:

An evidence-based approach has been successful in improving student success rates through the ‘Student Success Pilot’, with five subjects chosen on the basis of their traditionally low pass rates and their positioning as typically in the first period of study. The College’s progression data has identified a link between students with poor performance within their first two study periods and the likelihood of eventual withdrawal.

The project involved a current state analysis, with 42 data sources and a mix of qualitative and quantitative data used to develop and implement a set of interventions.

Data required for the deep dive included:

  • Subject outlines
  • Student pass rates over 3 years
  • Grade distributions over 6 trimesters (per task)
  • Student satisfaction survey data over 6 trimesters
  • Assessment task descriptions and rubrics
  • Attendance rates
  • Classroom observation documentation (current and any past rounds)

The data informed decisions to:

Immediately, implement practice exams in pairs, the week before final.

Next trimester, review assessment tasks to ensure they are:

  • appropriate for the AQF level;
  • aligned with the intended learning outcomes;
  • started in class to ensure students are confident and know what to do and to succeed;
  • demonstrating what is required for success.

These interventions were implemented during 2019. The results of the pilot were positive e.g. an increase of up to 12 per cent in pass rates, increased engagement from students and positive learning experiences for academics. The lessons learned have already been used to inform policy development including the new ICMS Learning and Teaching Principles and assessment policy to embed developmental approaches and constructive feedback.

Several presentations have resulted from the project including at the TEQSA Conference 2018 and Assessment in Higher Education Conference in Manchester, the United Kingdom, June 2019.