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Ellen Jansen: which educational factors play a role in the success of students in higher education?

Which educational factors play a role in the success of students in higher education?

There are different ways of looking at educational success. Students generally see educational success as passing their exams. A degree programme speaks of educational success when a cohort of students has a high pass rate. Additionally, another measure is whether or not the graduate is sufficiently prepared for the next steps in their subsequent academic or professional career. Clearly, there are other factors that affect the results, such as prior education, commitment and personality characteristics. But how can teaching do its part and contribute to educational success?

Ellen Jansen
Photo: Mariska de Groot
During the 1990s, research focused on the feasibility of programmes. It showed that the way in which programmes are offered and the scheduling and modes of testing can have a major impact on educational success. Today, research into educational success is more strongly oriented towards well-being. Several studies show that students face a lot of stress. In the GHQ-12, a tool which enables us to map psychological complaints, the same appears to apply to PhD students. The outcomes indicate that students face major risks of burnout. Other international research shows that at least 40 percent of PhD students experience high stress levels or deal with depressive complaints. In Groningen, the numbers are not looking any brighter. These problems do not contribute to educational success, either in a quantitative or a qualitative sense. For this reason, research into factors in the teaching environment that are capable of promoting the well-being of Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD students is one of the spearheads of our research programme Higher Education.

Last modified:29 November 2019 3.01 p.m.
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