Improving education through tracking

Nieuws | de redactie
14 september 2012 | The new EUA study highlights increasing importance of tracking university students’ progression paths. Tracking enhances the quality of universities and improves their strategic development. EUA chief Lesley Wilson therefore pleads for extra attention for tracking

This study is the first of this kind, and its aim was to map thestate of play in 31 countries, and to provide factual informationon the uses and methods for tracking students’ progress at both thenational level as well as within higher education institutions.

Understanding student drop-out

EUA Secretary General Lesley Wilson: “it has become increasinglyimportant for universities to monitor the progression and successof their diverse student populations and the entry of graduatesinto the labor market”. He hopes that through this studyinstitutions get inspired through best practices in other countriesand that new tracking approaches will be developed the comingyears.

Not only the quality of education will be stimulated bysystematic data gathering of students. It also helps in raisingawareness of teaching results and helps understanding studentdrop-out. Tracking results were found to be instrumental forimproving and devising better targeted student support systems.


There is a growing interest in tracking and an increasing numberof initiatives both at national and institutional level. This trendis driven by a variety of factors such as a shift tostudent-centred learning. Also the increased focus on employabilityand entry into the labor market as criteria for assessing highereducation provision are of importance.

The research shows the existence of a range of differentapproaches across Europe. Some countries appear to prioritize thesurveying of graduates, others focus principally on studentprogress. However, there is a trend towards combining both.

Challenges and risks

However tracking can help institutions there are certainly riskswhich need to be considered. Poor management of tracking, such as alack of coordination of tracking approaches and are likely to do’more harm than good’. The study warns for over-surveying and thead-hoc application of tracking results. A good follow-up plan afterthe tracking results are gathered might ‘make or break’ everything.


A full copy of the report can be downloaded here.

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