Attrition: a problem for unis

University managements were largely silent during the deplorathon over the government decision to exclude people who fail half their subjects – funny that

Dan Tehan responded to the uproar at the end of last week, telling Rafael Epstein on ABC Radio in Melbourne, “What we don’t want is students taking on a study load that they can’t complete, leaving them without a qualification and a large debt. … And, so, when they are not doing well, we want universities and the student to be able to sit down and discuss how the student is performing. And, then, if need be, either provide additional assistance, or maybe steer them to another course which is more suitable for them …. “

Which is a very polite way of pointing to a problem of the dare not speak its name kind –attrition.

Back in 2018 the Higher Education Standards Panel, report on attrition found; “significant improvements in provider approach are possible to maximise students’ chances of successfully completing their studies.”  (CMM June 8 2018).

And HESP was not having universities pointing to students’ SES as the main cause for their drop-out rates.  “An analysis using regression techniques showed that student characteristics only explained a small part of the overall variation in student attrition. The institution is a more important factor than the basis of admission, the student’s ATAR score, type of attendance, mode of attendance or age in explaining attrition.” (Although, HESP added, “measurable factors only explain 22.5 per cent of the overall variation in attrition.”)


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