Regular, ongoing and systematic tracking and monitoring of student progress and performance is widely considered as a necessity to provide successful student support (Shaw, 2014; McFarlane, 2016; Thomas et al, 2017). Students welcome this close attention, and regular, proactive follow-up contact. A lack of contact and/or follow up can diminish a student’s perception of the importance of the Adviser-Advisee relationship (Small, 2013; Ghenghesh, 2017; Yale, 2017). This is particularly the case for students who may be categorised as ‘at risk’ or ‘vulnerable’ (Calcagno et al, 2017). Further information and guidance on ‘at risk’ and ‘vulnerable’ students will appear in these pages shortly as we build its content. Also, focus group outcomes with Advisers at Brookes on how ‘at risk’ identification might be most usefully employed in Advising is published as a case study in this collection: Hannam, S. and Dalrymple, R. (2022).
There are many factors which influence student performance (performance in terms of retention, success, attendance and punctuality, value-added and internal progression). These factors can be:
- Institutional - for example, level of satisfaction on their course and with the university
- External - for example, level of family support; background and upbringing; socio-economic factors
- Individual - for example, emotional well-being; strengths and areas for development at the point of starting the course, such as their level of practical and theoretical skills.
Whilst students’ individual characteristics are already formed, it is important for the Academic Adviser to acknowledge them and ask the student how their thinking, approaches and behaviours will impact on, or contribute to their progress. This dialogue will help you to provide effective support for your Academic Advisees, through their studies.