Study Skills Strategies (Crisp Fifty-Minute)

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This study aimed to assess what incoming students and lecturers expect of learning and teaching at university. It was observed that, overall students, had relatively realistic expectations of university.

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This study shows consistency with previous findings such as those by Cook and Leckey and Lowe and Cook Cluster 2 may have been comprised of students who enroll into university straight out of secondary school, anticipating little difference to the style of teaching they had encountered before Lowe and Cook, These students would also expect to struggle more with the workload, the teaching pace and with studying more independently. Students in Cluster 2 also anticipated more struggles, both Academic and Other , such as emotional problems or financial hardship.

Students forming Cluster 1, on the other hand, endorsed Lack of Other Possibilities as a reason for attending university more than the students forming Cluster 2. These students may be the ones who opted for a university education due to the fact that alternatives, such as going into vocational training or decent-paying jobs, are more constrained nowadays; even entry-level jobs often requiring at least a baccalaureate education Wells et al.

Exploratory analyses assessed if age impacted the scoring of the questionnaire. It revealed a difference between those who are 18 and 19 years and those who are 20 years and older. Younger students expected more information-transmitting teacher-focused approaches than did older students. For example younger students more likely to expect that lecturers would give extensive written notes.

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Similar observations were reported by Lowe and Cook ; although their student sample was divided, with one group of students expecting much more detailed notes than they received, but the other group reporting they were, in fact, receiving more detailed lecture notes than they had anticipated. However, as Lowe and Cook studied students enrolled across different university courses the observed differences may have been related to the specific subject area those students were studying. The greater tendency of the younger students to expect this teaching approach may be because they have just left secondary school, whereas older students may have taken a Gap-Year, attended preparation courses for university, or joined university from the workforce.

These experiences may have altered their expectations of what type of teaching to expect, or, more importantly, of their own abilities to study, learn and problem-solve independently. The identified clusters, were also influenced by students' expectations of Perceived Status and Parental Expectation s, but to a lesser extent.

This might relate to the perceived impact of parents' own educational attainments on students' academic expectations. For example, Cohen showed that parental influences had an impact on educational aspirations, as well as educational attainments. It has been argued that parental aspirations and expectations might possibly exert even more of an influence than status attainment or peer pressure Kandel, Overall, lecturers scored significantly higher on the concept-changing student-focused CCSF scale than the information-transmitting teacher-focused ITTF scale of the ATI Trigwell and Prosser, , indicating that lecturers more often adopt a student-focused approach in order to facilitate conceptual change in students with regard to the module they teach, rather than engaging in a more shallow, information-transmitting approach.

The significant negative correlation observed between ITTF and its subscales and years of teaching showed that those with fewer years of teaching endorsed approaches that are more teacher-focused and information-transmitting. These findings also indicate that teachers tend to evaluate their teaching expectations in the context of their teaching experiences, as those with more teaching experiences endorsed such approaches less. Trend-significant positive correlations were observed between year in which students are taught and lecturers' scores on the CCSF and scores on the CCSF-Strategy subscale.

These findings indicate that there are associations between the approaches lecturers take i. On the other hand, increasing years at university and cumulative learning experiences, the scores on the ITTF and its subscales decrease, meaning that lecturers endorse these teaching approaches less often.

The positive relationships between the CCSF and the years in which students are studying supports these findings, as these associations show that lecturers tend to increase the student-focused, concept changing approaches in later years of study. This is in line with literature showing that lecturers adapt their approaches to teaching in responses to students' requests but also in response to students' learning and achievements Trigwell and Prosser, , ; Prosser and Trigwell, Such development is important to prepare students for post-graduate studies or for employment.

It also shows that such development takes into account that students who come to university straight from A-levels, or college and who, as shown here, expect a teaching style more reflective of one they are used to, have an opportunity to gradually develop a more independent learning style.

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However, Fraser and Killen showed that lecturers actually expected students to be independent, self-motivated and self-efficient right from the beginning of their university degree, a finding which is in-part supported by our current observations. Lecturers endorsed positive student engagement related to lecture attendance and participation in lectures far more than negative engagements e.

Positive engagement with the university culture and a lecture, rather than a classroom, environment was endorsed by students, who also recognized regular attendance at lectures would be expected of them when at university. This seems to contradict findings by Fraser and Killen , who reported that students undervalued the importance of regular lecture attendance. A mis-match between students' and lecturers' academic expectations may result in communication break-down or to uncertainties about their respective roles.

For example, students may feel that there is little that they can do to succeed and lecturers may not be aware of how they can improve the situation. In the long-term this could impair effective teaching and pedagogy and might lead to decreased student satisfaction, poor academic performance, and increased dropout rate Fraser and Killen, Current findings suggest a potential for common understanding, e.

This is in line with previous research e. Yet, there are also quite significant differences, suggesting disparate views of what a successful academic career, or successful academic progression, means. Talbot reported that the most influential personality traits in relation to academic persistence and achievement appeared to be intrinsic motivation and students' level of cognitive categorization.

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The importance of understanding whether or not there is a mis-match between the expectations that students hold of university teaching and learning, and the expectations that staff have of students is related to the fact that the majority of students who end up dropping out of university do so in year 1, and most likely at the end of term 1, or the beginning of term 2 Ozga and Sukhnandal, It appears as if males are more likely to drop-out than females, hence it may be important to look at gender differences with regards to expectations.

The low number of males recruited in this study does not, however, allow for a rigorous assessment of gender differences. Previously, different academic expectations between males and females have also been reported Wells et al. Students are particularly vulnerable at the beginning of the course; hence they may require more support. Research has shown that the introduction of orientation courses has resulted in higher academic achievement and lower drop-out rates Wilke and Kuckuck, The identification of students at-risk of failure, but also assessments of students' expectations and their satisfaction as well as offering tutoring services and study skills development programs have proven to be successful in maintaining, if not improving, retention rates Cook and Leckey, Therefore, considering the different perspectives would help in attempting to narrow the gap between discrepant expectations.

Helping students understand the apparent changes between studying at secondary school and studying at university would allow for more realistic expectations from the beginning, including a reduction in anxiety and a potential for better academic success. From a lecturers' perspective, helping students to become more aware of, and to understand, effective, and progressive learning habits and learning environments Fraser and Killen, would increase their academic potential and ensure more successful degree completions. Specifically, younger students which in this study made up the majority of the sample, expected teaching to be much more information-transmitting, facilitating the more shallow learning approaches they are familiar with, or successfully applied, at college.

Nonetheless, the number of new undergraduates in the UK reached record levels in , with UCAS reports revealing increasing number of students from disadvantaged backgrounds, mature students as well as students from ethnic minorities and those who are first-generation of attending university entering higher education. To ensure their retention, progress and ultimately success is reliant upon closing the gap between the differing expectations hold amongst students and lecturers.

Students voluntarily filled out the questionnaires, rather than it being a compulsory requirement for a course, for example. It has thus to be considered that the sample is likely biased toward more engaged and proactive students in the first place. No record of whether students would be considered to be of a traditional, compared to non-traditional, background with regards to university education was obtained, a fact that likely could have impacted results.

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Although we recorded if students were entering their first-ever degree course, or if they had previously entered a course, the numbers were too discrepant in order to compare them in any meaningful way. In future, university education background, i. It might be useful to more actively recruit those who had previously entered a degree course, and to compare their expectations of university teaching and learning against those who had never entered a degree programme before.

Overall, the sample size is modest, and given that the sample was obtained primarily from only one programme BSc Psychology —which traditionally has a very imbalanced male:female ratio—in future, studies should recruit across different university programmes to balance the number of male and female students who are being asked about their expectations of university.

The imbalance in male:female ratio could confound findings, given the previously discussed gender differences with regards to academic expectations Seifert et al. Recruitment of a more evenly balanced sample of male and females could be arranged by assessing degree courses that may be unevenly represented across genders e.

Differences between this cohort and the younger student cohort should be viewed with caution. Future research, however, should attempt to increase the number of mature students in order to assess such differences in detail. Higher education is an extremely important and life-changing time for most students; students invest not only financially, but also emotionally as well as time and effort. Therefore, ensuring that students make the most of their university experience, and leave university with the best degree possible requires clear communication of the expectations that both parties, students and lecturers, have of each other.

What can be drawn from this study is that there remains a need to more clearly communicate these mutual expectations. From a lecturer's perspective, reiterating the active and self-governing role that students need to play in their university education might resolve in students being more aware of the fact that they would need to accept full responsibility for their own academic success and acknowledge that their lecturers are only one of many resources for achieving success.

Students need to be made aware of the fact that they need to monitor their own progress toward completing their degree Tinto, Furthermore, it needs to be acknowledged that students and lecturers have joint responsibility for student success: a first stage in accepting such responsibility would be to gain a better understanding of the complex processes that seem to influence students' academic success.

Differences in student and lecturer perception and expectation make it difficult to appropriately assess learning and teaching. Future research should therefore attempt to further integrate students' expectations about the factors that may influence their success with their actual performance Fraser and Killen, SH: designed and conducted the study data collection and analysis and wrote the initial draft of the manuscript; NR: conducted a literature search and wrote the second draft of the manuscript.

Both authors contributed to the final draft. The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List Front Psychol v. Front Psychol. Published online Jan Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. This article was submitted to Educational Psychology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Psychology. Received Jun 30; Accepted Dec 7. The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author s and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice.

No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms. Abstract Transition from school to university can cause concern for many students.

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Keywords: student expectations, lecturer expectation, UK higher education, University education, teaching styles, teaching experience. Student expectations of studying at university A common expectation of students is that a university education will enhance their academic and vocational prospects, but also provide opportunities to become independent and to enjoy themselves Lowe and Cook, ; Kandinko and Mawer, Lecturers' expectations of university students There is a paucity of research assessing what lecturers expect of students when they first enter university and very few studies have investigated the perceptions of both students and lecturers regarding factors that influence academic success Killen, ; Fraser and Killen, Methods Participants Data were available for 77 students enrolled in either the Single Honours Psychology Programme or a Joint Honours Degree Programme with Psychology being one of the two subjects studied.

Measures Students completed a questionnaire that was created specifically for this study but which was based on the survey used by Lowe and Cook, Data analysis Analysis of student questionnaire Total scores for the student questionnaire were calculated and subsequently, emerging clusters were generated. Results Student expectations questionnaire—summary of endorsed statements Total scores for the student questionnaire were calculated, then emerging clusters were generated. Table 1 Themes clusters assessed in the student questionnaire. Reasons for attending university Academic aptitude Teaching expectation Ambition Academic aptitude struggles Expectation of Teaching being facilitating student-focused Lack of other opportunities Other struggles Financial, Emotional, Support Expectation of Teaching being information transmitting teacher-focused Social factors Expectation of Learning being similar to college high-school Perceived status and expectations.

Open in a separate window. Student expectations questionnaire—cluster analysis The numbers of clusters were predetermined to be 3—this was based on an initial Agglomerative Clustering method squared Euclidean Distance. Table 6 Summary of results from the dispersion analysis.

F p -value Academic struggles Table 7 Summary of results for Group differences when comparing students aged 18—19 vs. Figure 1. Figure 2. Correlations between years of teaching experience and scores on the ITTF scales. Discussion This study aimed to assess what incoming students and lecturers expect of learning and teaching at university. Staff expectations Approaches to teaching inventory Overall, lecturers scored significantly higher on the concept-changing student-focused CCSF scale than the information-transmitting teacher-focused ITTF scale of the ATI Trigwell and Prosser, , indicating that lecturers more often adopt a student-focused approach in order to facilitate conceptual change in students with regard to the module they teach, rather than engaging in a more shallow, information-transmitting approach.

Application to students' university experience A mis-match between students' and lecturers' academic expectations may result in communication break-down or to uncertainties about their respective roles.

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