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‘Ready to learn’ upon entering higher education - new student transitions report published

Date: January 19 - 2022

A new report examining the extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic affected the readiness of students entering higher education is now available for QAA Members. The report was produced as part of our Supporting Successful Student Transitions membership theme by a team in the University of East Anglia and was funded in QAA’s capacity as a membership organisation.

The report is based on 10 years' worth of data exploring the academic transition of Biology students, which provides a comparison of the knowledge, skills and abilities of students who entered higher education in 2020 and 2021, with those who entered in 2019.

Analysis shows that there were no significant differences in knowledge and understanding of biological terms and concepts between students entering higher education in 2020 and 2021, and previous years.

The report’s lead co-authors Dr Harriet Jones and Professor Jon Scott said: 'Much anecdotal evidence is circulating about poor academic skills, but these are not always objective and some may be down to heightened awareness following the pandemic. It would be a mistake to attribute the issues affecting the school/college-to-university transition solely to the disrupted teaching resulting from the pandemic. Without continued resources and effort these issues will not all be resolved post-pandemic.’

Dr Ailsa Crum, QAA’s Director of Membership, Quality Enhancement and Standards said: ‘This report provides valuable longitudinal data on the academic transition of students studying in the biological sciences. It also serves as a useful reminder that we should look to the evidence and not assume all disruptions to teaching will lead to changed outcomes for students.’

The report is available to QAA Members via our Membership Resources Site. Staff and students from QAA member institutions can register for the site via this simple form. You can view our range of Supporting Student Transitions resources via our Supporting Student Transitions webpage.