Skip to content

Toggle service links
  1. eSTEeM
  2. Category
  3. Theme
  4. Other
Subscribe to RSS - Other

Other

Understanding awarding gaps for disabled and black LHCS students at Level 1

Project leader(s): 
Carol Midgley and Jane Loughlin
Faculty: 
STEM
Status: 
Current
Body: 

The proportion of disabled and BAME students on an individual module presentation can be relatively low, so although awarding gaps are a persistent feature, they tend to be variable and difficult to analyse. It is clear that there is a consistent gap in retention between black/ white students and between disabled/ non-disabled students (particularly those with mental health issues, see data below) for the three large population 60-credit Level 1 modules that are compulsory in the qualifications supported by LHCS:

  • SDK100 - compulsory in Q71 Health Sciences (and hosted by LHCS)
  • S111 and S112 - both compulsory in Q64 Biology and Chemistry pathways, R58 Biology and R59 Chemistry (S111 is hosted by SPS and S112 by EEES)

What is proposed here is a detailed exploration of assessment scores, retention, and VLE engagement (as an indicator of passive withdrawals) for completed presentations of these modules, and of the intersection with demographic analytics data to help identify the main factors contributing to retention and awarding gaps for specific groups of disabled students and BAME students. The aim is to help improve our understanding of the student profiles and the timing in the modules where focussed/personal support could be most effective. This study will form the basis for a separate follow-up study to investigate the extent to which individual circumstances might impact on retention, which would likely involve student surveys and qualitative analysis of follow-up interviews or focus groups. In the longer term this improved understanding would feed into both L1 module and SST initiatives to help close awarding gaps for these groups of students.

Carol Midgley and Jane Loughlin poster (PPT)

Theme: 

Assessing the impact of skills development through formative assessment on student retention and success in S294

Project leader(s): 
Katja Rietdorf and Jane Loughlin
Faculty: 
STEM
Status: 
Current
Body: 

This project will investigate the impact on student performance and module results of engagement with specific question types in formative assessment and with resources designed to support skills development. Specifically, we will analyse if:

  • engaging with resources and accessing feedback affects student retention
  • students improve their ability to answer a certain type of question in successive TMAs …
  • … and if this affects the scores in the respective exam questions
  • accessing the training resources helps students with the respective questions in the exam
  • these results differ between students accessing their tutor feedback for their TMAs compared to those who do not access the feedback.

We will take a quantitative approach to analyse engagement with the formative assessment by scrutinising TMA submission rates and scores as well as individual question attempts and scores. We will also include the TMA04 and exam submission rates and scores in the analysis, and correlate all of those with data on student access of the various resources. These measures will be examined by qualification aim, study intensity and demographics including ethnicity and disability.

If our hypothesis that students who engage with the formative assessment, with AL feedback, and with the training resources provided have a higher retention, pass rate and a better module result, and, more specifically, demonstrate improved skills development, the results can be used to inform students how engaging with the formative assessment can be beneficial for their results. It will also help to evaluate the effectiveness of our resources, which, if effective, could be used in other modules.

This project could inform the design of a follow-up project to gather data on student perceptions of their skills development and the value of feedback on formative assessment opportunities, through real-time surveys of S294 students as they engage with the formative assessment and skills resources.

Katja Rietdorf and Jane Loughlin poster (PPT)

Theme: 

Accessibility of Jupyter Notebooks on M269

Project leader(s): 
Alexis Lansbury and Sharon Dawes
Faculty: 
STEM
Status: 
Current
Body: 

M269 Algorithms, data structures and computability is being rewritten and will include all teaching and assessment materials in Jupyter notebooks rather than the OU’s VLE interface. These notebooks are an interactive web-based tool that allows a mix of executable practical activities as well as text-styled using mark-up language. Both tutors and students will need to use Jupyter. Thus this study will investigate the experiences of both. Students and tutors will need to install the software on their own computers. 

This project will examine the usability and the accessibility (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) of this learning approach from the perspective of tutors and students of the rewritten module. Here, by usability we mean in terms of how straightforward it is to install, run and use Jupyter and achieve the module’s learning outcomes.  Participating tutors and students will be asked to keep a diary focussing on a small number of key questions.  They will detail their experiences of using the software, and this will provide answers to some key questions about accessibility and usability. We will request participants to submit these diary entries monthly for the first 4 months. We’ve selected the diary-format as it will allow us to see how user-experiences change over the period of the study. We will follow up the results obtained from analysis of the diaries by means of online focus-groups.

We will use NVivo to do thematic analysis on both the diary entries and the transcripts of the focus-group recordings.

We expect to establish whether guidance in adapting output from the Jupyter notebooks makes them sufficiently accessible and whether any adjustments are necessary to improve usability.

We aim to have preliminary findings available in time to disseminate these at the eSTEeM conference in 2022 to inform module teams (e.g. TM129, TM351, TM358, M348, ST374, SM123, SXPS288, S818) as to whether adjustments are needed.

Alexis Lansbury and Sharon Dawes poster (PPT)

Theme: