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Against the odds: an investigation into student persistence in UK higher education

Gabi, J and Sharpe, S (2019) Against the odds: an investigation into student persistence in UK higher education. Studies in Higher Education. ISSN 0307-5079

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Abstract

© 2019, © 2019 Society for Research into Higher Education. This article focuses on student persistence in Higher Education. It examines qualities that enable students to persist in their studies despite the challenges they face, and key factors interplaying with and affecting these qualities. This study utilised the explanatory mixed-methods approach. It comprised a faculty-wide survey which explained the relationships between and across variables. Focus group interviews explored significant predictors of students’ persistence. Results from this study showed that, among other things, key drivers of student persistence were personal optimism, academic engagement, and positive relationships. Students’ decision to stay on and complete their studies determines their persistence; but there also remains a major role to be played by institutions. Successful student persistence tends to be a result of an intricate interaction between the student’s personal factors and their environment–and the institution is a key component of that environment.

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