Are leavers different from stayers? Dropout and students' perceptions of the teaching-learning environment

Anna Bager-Elsborg, Kim Jesper Herrmann, Rie Troelsen, Lars Ulriksen

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Abstract

Dropout causes are varied, as is the way in which they are researched. In this paper, we study the correlation between student perceptions of the teaching–learning environment and dropping out by investigating the interaction between students and the teaching–learning environment before the students make the decision to stay or leave. Survey data from 4,339 students at a major research-intensive Danish university combined with administrative data were analysed, and the results point to two main differences between stayers and leavers. First, students who later decided to leave university found their courses to be less interesting and less relevant compared to the experience of the students staying, and second, students with a high academic self-efficacy belief are less at risk of dropping out of their university studies. A methodological strength of the study is that student perceptions were measured when the students were all still enrolled. This reduces the risk of the leavers’ perception being affected by their decision to leave.

student retention, teaching–learning environments, interest, self-efficacy beliefs, methodological design
Original languageEnglish
JournalUniped
Volume42
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)139-156
ISSN1500-4538
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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