Relatively little attention has been given to the progression of students through their studies. When it has been done, we see that it focuses on a unique HEI and adopts a perspective of efficiency, which ends up proposing retention policies. We intend to broaden the scope in various ways. Firstly, if the angle of vision of the trajectory followed by a student, rather than that of the particular HEIs, was that of the system, then the definition of “success” would probably be given by the completion of a university degree at the end of its trajectory, regardless of whether this has been more or less complex. From a systemic point of view, it makes sense that even a complex trajectory can be a path to success. Second, most HEIs that have data on their students’ progress develop the relevant indicators to pass the assessment processes of their degree programs. The perspective behind such indicators is usually one of efficiency, but rarely one of equity. However, one of the most widely accepted missions of the university is to promote equity and social cohesion. In fact, since the Prague communiqué in 2001, the social dimension of higher education has been one of the elements that have been insistently pointed out as being fundamental for the construction and consolidation of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). It is therefore essential to pay attention to the particular trajectories of disadvantaged groups and to compare their trajectories in different contexts. Finally, with a wider definition of what can be considered a success, and the stress on equity perspective, policies of retention must also be widened. The monitoring of student trajectories should provide information on the socio-demographic and academic characteristics of the student and information at the system level, in order to capture transfers between degree programs and universities. At the HEI level, this broader perspective should lead to the implementation of policies that assist student decision-making and support the path he or she ultimately decides to follow. In this context, this project aims at identifying patterns in the trajectories of university students and to assess their probability of occurrence as a function of the socio-demographic and academic profile of the students and the institutional context. Particular attention will be paid to the trajectories resulting from a transfer process between degree programs and universities, especially if the transfer is made from a face-to-face university to a distance university. This project also aims to contribute to the compilation and dissemination of policies that support the progress of students, with particular attention to those that help them transfer from one program to another or from one educational institution to another. Finally, the project aims to develop and extend a series of tools aimed at different agents in the university, in order to: a) develop a certain awareness that it is necessary to work in a new framework of complex trajectories; b) implement systems to help students build their own trajectories (be it progress, decision making, shift, etc.).
Instituição FinanciadoraCOMISSÃO EUROPEIA
Instituição PrestadoraFundació per a la Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto