Leading learning: enhancing the learning experience of university students through anxiety auditing.
Education, Knowledge and Economy, 4, (1)
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Student anxiety, in a transforming and internationalising Higher Education context is a neglected area of research. Yet its potential impact on student learning can be profound.
Developed as an alternative feedback system, to counteract the ‘push button’ student evaluation systems currently in use in many universities, an anxiety audit trail was developed which was based on a mixed questionnaire and student and tutor discussion data gathering approach. Data was gathered for 180 students over a three year period to 2009. Successive cohorts comprising 23% international and 77% home students responded to the questionnaires and participated in group discussions three times across the academic year.
Findings suggest that overall, international student and female students as separate groups exhibit significant levels of anxiety across key elements of the student life cycle than home students and their male counterparts respectively. The study also found that contrary to expectations, student anxiety actually increased across the academic year in three areas. Students generally became more anxious about the prospect of cultural integration, assessment and achieving the academic transition expected of Masters Students.
The findings, despite limitations of sample size and institutional case study focus have several implications for the management of the student experience and the utilisation student of feedback in an international HE context.
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