This study is the first of this kind, and its aim was to map the
state of play in 31 countries, and to provide factual information
on the uses and methods for tracking students' progress at both the
national level as well as within higher education institutions.
Understanding student drop-out
EUA Secretary General Lesley Wilson: "it has become increasingly
important for universities to monitor the progression and success
of their diverse student populations and the entry of graduates
into the labor market". He hopes that through this study
institutions get inspired through best practices in other countries
and that new tracking approaches will be developed the coming
Not only the quality of education will be stimulated by
systematic data gathering of students. It also helps in raising
awareness of teaching results and helps understanding student
drop-out. Tracking results were found to be instrumental for
improving and devising better targeted student support systems.
There is a growing interest in tracking and an increasing number
of initiatives both at national and institutional level. This trend
is driven by a variety of factors such as a shift to
student-centred learning. Also the increased focus on employability
and entry into the labor market as criteria for assessing higher
education provision are of importance.
The research shows the existence of a range of different
approaches across Europe. Some countries appear to prioritize the
surveying of graduates, others focus principally on student
progress. However, there is a trend towards combining both.
Challenges and risks
However tracking can help institutions there are certainly risks
which need to be considered. Poor management of tracking, such as a
lack of coordination of tracking approaches and are likely to do
'more harm than good'. The study warns for over-surveying and the
ad-hoc application of tracking results. A good follow-up plan after
the tracking results are gathered might 'make or break'
A full copy of the report can be downloaded here.