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To enable the student body to achieve the course's aims and objectives and reach their potential.
The benefits of a comprehensive learning support system are well documented; raising the expectations of the students to achieve will increase retention, attendance, punctuality, behaviour, commitment, employability, confidence and self esteem and therefore greatly benefit the college. Retention, achievement and attendance are key indicators to the success and viability of the course.
The structure of a Learning Support System
Recruitment and selection
While admissions regulations state the minimum qualification required for entry the admission criteria would actually be to select the student body. A well-planned course will be concerned with how the members of such a group of students will be enabled to achieve the course's aims and objectives and demonstrate that they have done so. The selection criteria should indicate what admissions tutors would be looking for. It should be clear where the line is to be drawn between proficiency and perceived potential and between the latter and commitment.
Students should have an initial and diagnostic assessment to identify learning support needs. This may be an on-line assessment and/or a written English test. An example would be the course tutor dictates relevant paragraph or so from course notes to the group, this is marked and graded for accuracy, spelling, and layout neatness. This exercise would be timed as slow or fast transcripts could indicate learning difficulties or physical disabilities, including hearing or sight problems, with the result the tutor would adjust teaching materials and assignments. There may be a need for staff development to train a tutor in assessing learning difficulties such as dyslexia.
Student orientation develops confidence, so the group would visit key areas of the college: - The Learning Resource Centre, library staff would explain procedures, 'How to Log-on to the college network', use and borrowing of books and reference materials (DVDs) Student Services, an explanation of the services available, eg. 'Counselling' Learning Support etc. Finance offices, payment of course and examination fees, issuing receipts etc. Offices of Registry, Course Manager and Director', Canteen etc. Base or general classrooms occupied during the course.
Course information such as course and tutorial timetables, assignment schedules, along with pastoral information such as absence procedures, health & safety - fire egress procedures and first aid.
Developing skills for life and transferable skills are high on the academic agenda, therefore an enrichment programme would be set out by the tutor. For example: -
Arabic - cultural and language for the ex-pats/ international students.
Voluntary/charity work or fund raising
'Buddy' scheme, second year students mentor first year 'freshers'.
Healthy eating clubs
Excursions to cultural sights/events/festivals
Helping families and or small businesses to set and work within a budget
Careers fair, with representatives from the Financial/Banking sectors plus academic specialists from all programmes offered in the College. Alumni students in person or assignment /thesis work should be available for freshers to examine, and allow them to comprehend the expected level/quality of commitment required for their chosen course of study.
Students having completed the English course should have the opportunity to meet with the subject specialists to review or confirm their chosen course. The course manager should record the meetings. This data will provide evidence of how far they have academically and personally travelled as a result of the course and support of the college.
Notification of Learning Support Needs
In accordance with the tutorial programme, all students will have an individual tutorial and develop an Individual Learning Plan (ILP)*. The support needs will be recorded and the tutor/student will discuss the level of support required, e.g. from large print on handouts to one-two-one support, extra time during examinations, or the need for either a reader or scribe. The support is given should be shared with the course team, Quality Manager, Manger of Learning Support, and the Awarding Body as appropriate, (remembering student confidentiality)
* See also the tutorial programme and individual learning plan (ILP) document.
Monitoring the effectiveness of Learning Support
The course teams will report on the individual progress of the student at their weekly meetings, in turn the Director of Curriculum and Quality Manager can monitor and assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the service to the student.
Student surveys/questionnaires will provide a written assessment from the student body.
An example of a monitoring questionnaire
Has the provision for student support and guidance been effective?
Were your induction arrangements effective?
Were students allocated a personal tutor?
Did they meet regularly as planned?
Do students have access to study support?
If so how were they informed about it?
Is there individual support for less able students or those who are not performing well?
Has this been effective?
Are there arrangements in place to support disabled students?
If so, how are they monitored?
An example of an Induction checklist to be completed by the tutor with each student and held in the course file
Name â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦. Date: â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦.
Please check the list below and tick if you have received information or are aware of all these areas. If there is anything you are uncertain about or would like some more information, please ask your tutor.
My Course: I am clear about:
Course content for the year
Assessment, assignment or exam schedules
Expected level of work commitment
I have received a copy of my course handbook
I know where to see the College Student Handbook
I am happy that this course is right for me Yes No
I understand and agree to:
the Expectations of Student Behaviour
the College Behaviour Management process
the College Attendance and Lateness policy
I have visited the Learning Resources Centre and seen the
books and reference materials relevant to my course
I know how to log-onto of the college computer system/network
Student Support Services
I am aware of the range of student support services in the College and
how to access these services if I need them
I know about financial aspects of the course - examination fees etc.
I understand the tutorial programme and how it supports my learning
I understand what learning support is and how it can help me
I have had an initial assessment to identify if I will need any learning support
I have discussed if I might need any special arrangements for exams