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Retention Versus Quality

There are certain elements a college or university could improve on to maintain the quality of education delivered while also ensuring that students stick with their degree programs. Image by Torley.

This topic is quite debatable in context of education, especially in higher education sector because student retention is important for any institute/school/college from year-on-year basis. If a college/institute goes for quality education then teachers/professors of that college have to work really hard for maintaining high quality standards in education. Talking about both these approaches is like talking about the quantitative and qualitative aspects in higher education sector.

We will discuss both these aspects and will try to justify these aspects as well. In my opinion following are the factors if taken care of could be decisive in student retention:

  • The timing of applications is important, with students who apply earliest are less likely to drop out;
  • Students who have further to travel to get to college are also more likely to withdraw that means students prefer less travelling distance from their place to college;
  • Differences in prior expectations of college and in levels of satisfaction with college facilities are not in themselves a good indicator of likelihood of completion.
  • The circumstance like low fee structure could also be decisive in some cases of student retention but the probability of these circumstances is around 5% in the higher education sector.

To counter these factors there are some strategies that could be useful in negating the effect of these factors like:

  • Curriculum
  • Support
  • Managerial

Curriculum initiatives like open and flexible learning, development of learning support and learning to learn strategies.

Support strategy includes measure to provide financial, transport and other types of learner support, improvement in information and guidance services.

Managerial strategy could be changes in resource allocation systems, the development of whole college and whole service retention strategies.

Again talking about the qualitative aspect of this debate that means the factors those could be decisive in maintaining quality in higher education:

  • Personal traits of a teacher can make a teacher effective;
  • Teacher education with pedagogical training in addition to coursework in respective subject areas;
  • The workplace where teacher works could also increase or decrease the quality of education in a particular college.
  • Colleagues helping each other in preparing course material could also increase the quality of the education in a particular college/institute.

Class size, assignments, curricular support, timely assessments are also the factors that can play the role in maintaining the quality of education in an institute/college.