Collaborative practice in practice in enhancing the first year experience in Higher Education

Eunice Lumsden, Heather Mcbryde-Wilding, Hannah Rose


Transition into higher education presents challenges for students, whatever their age or previous educational history. One issue emerging on an English undergraduate programme was how to support students who self reported educational histories of continual formative feedback, model answers, revision guides and limited use of the library. This paper reports findings from an action research project which considered whether there was a mismatch between students’ previous educational histories and the academic expectations of the university. Findings indicated that academic expectations did not fully take account of the previous experience of students, which included continual formative support with assessments, model answers and revision guides. Students responses indicated limited previous guidance on how to search on the internet and libraries were rarely used prior to starting university. Transitional scaffolding was positively evaluated, students reporting greater confidence levels in accessing appropriate resources, high levels of student completion, retention and satisfaction.


Transitions; Assessment support; National Curriculum; Educational histories; Expectations; Higher Education; Student voice; Widening participation; Scaffolding

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