Exploring the role of co-curricular student engagement in relation to student retention, attainment and improving inclusivity
Throughout the REACT project, the core institutions of Winchester, Exeter and London Metropolitan have been conducting an in-depth, multi-faceted evaluation of selected co-curricular student engagement activities – ‘Student Fellows’, ‘Change Agents’ and ‘Peer-Assisted Student Success’ respectively. This involved the collection of survey data to explore key concepts related to the motivations of students to participate in these initiatives. This survey explores areas including employability, academic study and partnership, with an aim of improving co-curricular initiatives to make them more inclusive of ‘hard to reach’ students. These ‘motivations’ to participate are used to contextualise data about the attainment and continuation of active student participants. Rather than seek to assert or confirm that various groups are ‘hard to reach’, this research seeks to understand better what does and does not make co-curricular activities inclusive of hard-to-reach students. In this sense, the aim is to have a greater understanding of how students are successfully ‘reached’. Discussion will focus on how attainment and retention can help us to explore whether a wide range of students is benefiting from participation.
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