Studies in Learning, Evaluation, Innovation and Development > Vol. 2, No. 3 (2005)

Getting them thinking: The role of the student questionnaire in promoting academic and social integration

Muriel Strahm, cqu
Geoff Danaher, Central Queensland University

Abstract

This paper reports on the development and administration of a questionnaire whose purpose was to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching/learning by examining students’ perceptions to learning. Created with two specific groups in mind, adult second language learners and pre-university students, the questionnaire was administered to the latter. In week five of a Tertiary Preparatory Skills course, eighteen mature age students completed nine open-ended questions about how they, other students and the lecturer influence their learning. The results indicate that students perceived social/affective and metacognitive factors and strategies as influencing their learning. Students identified the support and encouragement from other students and the lecturer, and planning, preparation and organisation as key factors influencing their progress. These findings are in line with Tinto’s belief that what happens in the classroom impacts on both social and academic integration. The findings also confirm needs theories that basic psychological needs such as the need for belonging and self-worth must be met before learning can take place. These findings also support recent awareness that metacognition is central to learning. The paper concludes that to reduce student attrition, and improve the student-institution relationship, students’ perceptions of learning must guide both teaching and future research into effective teaching and learning.

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