Good practice classified under: Programme Development Student Engagement
Quality principles for service-learning programmes
A set of quality principles is established to guide the development and implementation of service-learning programmes. These principles can serve as guidance for similar programmes.
The purpose of this practice is to ensure the quality delivery of service-learning programmes by providing a set of quality principles for the programme team to use during the programme development and implementation stages. The principles cover a wide range of aspects. These include identifying genuine community needs and obtaining a pledge of cooperation from prospective community partners. Some principles are about ensuring that students are adequately prepared for community engagement, for example, providing proper training for them; making efficient arrangements for site visits; and briefing students about the importance of sharing team leadership responsibilities. Other principles concern the learning process, such as, having appropriate reflective tools and templates, and relevant assessment methods; building constructive learning relationships with students, instructors, and partner organisation representatives; combining course related concepts with community services and reflection; and aligning programme objectives and intended learning outcomes. To ensure a high quality of service-learning programme delivery, the programme team should adhere to these quality principles, closely monitor their application to programme implementation, and take corrective actions in cases where departures from these principles are identified.
The outcome of employing this practice is to ensure that the programme is implemented in a coherent and reliable manner that successfully achieves the desired outcomes. The practice of establishing a set of guiding quality principles can be applied to both existing and new service-learning programmes, and when adapting existing departmental courses to include service learning.
Good practice classified under: Student Engagement Student Support Services
Benchmarking toolkit to enhance student services quality
Identifying suitable indicators and assembling a ‘benchmarking toolkit’ for different areas of activity helps stimulate discussion about the student services at different quality levels, and assists staff and students to design solutions to improve services.
A benchmarking tool (e.g. benchmarking tool for academic support) can highlight a number of principles defined by students that are considered essential to the provision on good quality services. Each principle can be elaborated to define the level of quality of provision using a 5-point scale of, for example, First Steps, Developing, Developed, Refining and Outstanding. Institutions can adapt the principles to fit their specific context, identify their location on the scale, and then discuss and agree ways in which services need to be improved.
When using the toolkit to analyse their current provision of services against the principles, institutions can identify areas for improvement in relation to the identified principles and take appropriate actions for follow-up.
Good practice classified under: Institutional Governance and Management Student Engagement Student Support Services
Using data to improve retention and student success
Collecting and monitoring data about student engagement and achievement helps identify students who are struggling and enables staff to take timely action.
Higher education institutions have a responsibility to ensure that students are encouraged and supported to complete their programmes and to achieve to the best of their abilities. Issues that can impact on student progress such as academic challenges, financial concerns, home life struggles, and schedule conflicts can arise at any time. Students will need different kinds of encouragement and support throughout their academic journey. Some higher dducation institutions have systems to keep records of their students and their progress with learning and assessment. The data from such records offers academic staff information to identify and prioritise students that may need help or additional direction.
Early identification of instances where students might begin to disengage from their courses or start to perform less well gives teachers the opportunity to intervene before the student fails, and this is likely to improve retention and the level of student satisfaction.
Disclaimer: All contents and any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations available in this electronic knowledgebase are for reference only and DO NOT represent HKCAAVQ’s endorsement of these practices in meeting HKCAAVQ’s accreditation criteria and standards.