Last term, as part of Learning Services quality framework, we undertook a full evaluation of the 1-2-1 academic skills support sessions we provide to students.
We provide a number of mechanisms for students to access support, these include sessions embedded within the timetabled curriculum, on-line help and on-line workshops, Steps to Academic Success workshops which are delivered across the term, and 1-2-1 appointments.
In terms of the number of students we see via this wide variety of mechanisms, the figures look like this:
- Curriculum based sessions – this academic year we have delivered 210 sessions to 6,842 students.
- Workshops – we have seen 109 students at the Steps to Academic Success workshops
- 1-2-1 sessions – provided help and support to 814 students
Evaluation of group sessions is very well established in Learning Services and we regularly use feedback to help us reflect. Examples of improvements following feedback include improving the relevancy of inductions sessions, changes to the days and times of day we delivered Steps to Success sessions and access to help and support using virtual tools. However, we have not previously evaluated the 1-2-1 sessions we deliver.
In early December 2014 we contacted all students who had attended a 1-2-1 session and asked them to anonymously complete an online survey, with a focus on whether the support they received was effective and has helped them move on with their studies. The survey was short, just 6 questions but with opportunities for students to use free text to tell us changes they have made since accessing support and if the structure of the session was useful.
We are extremely pleased to report that:
- 83.1% of respondents either strongly agreed or agreed that the advisor was able to provide guidance and answer my support queries
- 84.7% of respondents said that the support they received was effective and helped me move on with my studies
Comments from the free text sections include:
My planning of assignments is better. This is reflected in my marks as they are getting better.
It helped me write in a more reflective and analytical manner
It has helped me back up my observations with theories and quotes and has enabled me to analyse more critically
The short survey has provided some valuable feedback around what the students liked and disliked (which was mainly around the booking process, turnaround time and location of where the support was held) and this feedback will also help us as we manage expectations in terms of support and also make the other mechanisms of support we provide more accessible.
This was the first time we have undertaken this form of evaluation, however this will now form a key part of gathering feedback and the process will be repeated at the end of April 2015, when we will contact those students we have supported via 1-2-1 in the Semester two time scale (January 2015 – April 2015).