Links Between Student Experiences And Academic Achievement Education Essay

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The development of the modern Chinese jewellery industry didnt start till the end of 1970s.However, based on Embassy of Indias statement, jewellery industry in China has over the past 25 years of reforms and opening-up grown from a nonexistence base to emerge as a new industry with dynamism and high development prospects. The industry employs an estimated 5 million people. Jewellery businesses all over the world have started turning towards the Chinese market.

During this period, China has embraced a renewed interest in art and design higher education and a hunger for jewellery professionals. With the development of the academic system, a small group of metalsmithing and jewellery academics are working at a feverish pace to catch up with their own history, and provoke relevant contemporary practice at the same time. (Wagle, K 2008)

Same as the extension of China education market, the internationalization of higher education in English-speaking countries (USA, Australia and the UK), have increased a large numbers of Chinese students. Students from China have more opportunities than ever before to study in overseas countries. In the last decade, after the USA, England has become the second most popular choice for overseas students (Meiras, 2004). Chinese overseas students have become one of the main interests in global higher education market. With this fast growing phenomenon of studying abroad, (Byram & Feng, 2006; Savicki, 2008) more and more Chinese students would like to obtain a further jewellery education out of their country, especially on the postgraduate category.


Earlier research by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER 2008a and b) into the comparative academic performance of home and international undergraduate students analyzed UK national statistics on undergraduate degree classification and found that international students get somewhat less 'good' degrees than home students in various subject areas. However, it was not possible to do similar analyses at postgraduate level, or to explore the causes of the findings for undergraduates.

As a part of international students, the further research on the experiences and particularly the academic achievement of Chinese postgraduate students in UK Higher Education (HE) could be further explored. However, quite a lot of work had already been done by Chinese students themselves, particularly at PhD and Masters Level, most of which had not been published. The recent unpublished research on the experiences of Chinese students in UK institutions had been accessed from three sources: PhD theses and Masters Dissertations; conference papers; and internal institutional papers and reports.

Therefore, a process of search and review of literature was considered a necessary first step, with a focus on unpublished research. The aim of this literature search and review is to examine the influence of previous learning contexts at undergraduate and postgraduate level on the application of critical thinking Chinese students studying in the UK HE.

The aim of select literatures should contain material relevant to the experiences of UK Chinese students. The bibliographies should be selective, rather than exhaustive. Particular attention should be paid to: (a) the students' academic experiences - relating achievement measures to the aims and objectives of the institution and the students; (b) completion rates and factors affecting them; (c) the influence of pedagogic and epistemic traditions; (d) curriculum content and resources; and (f) welfare and pastoral issues.

Literature search and review:

As unpublished literature, little of this research has been widely read and only a very limited amount of it has found its way into publications, and then in an altered form. Hart's (2001: 94) As findings are not disseminated, debate is inhibited and much research remains narrow, with little possibility for making connections between research studies. I tried to highlight the links and intended to position my own work in some wider context. Even though with a focus on unpublished research, I was also reviewed a series bibliography of materials published on the issue of international student experiences since 1990. This provided added resources for me and avoided repeating work.

This unpublished work can perhaps best be categorised on a two-dimensional grid. First one is student cohort (country of origin, UK institution, type of course, etc.), and the second is facet of student experience studied (language acquisition, teaching and learning styles, cultural adaptation, etc). Based on my own research project, I pay particularly attention to the Facet of student experience.

During the literature research I attempt to categorise the existing international student literature by this aspect as a useful taxonomy:

practical challenges; e.g. accommodation, visas

emotional and affective issues; e.g. stress, homesickness

cultural adaptation and integration; e.g. developing adequate cross-cultural skills

English language acquisition and competence

pedagogical difficulties; e.g. seminar skills, writing skills

curriculum and assessment; e.g. appropriate course design

performance and outcomes.

These research themes lead on naturally to a set of questions regarding academic outcomes. To what extent do these aspects of international students' experiences impact on academic performance and broader educational outcomes? However, it seems like a difficult question to answer satisfactorily in many literatures. That should be a chance for me to make an attempt to explore this territory.

Though the researches discussed in this field vary considerably in scope, there is a striking similarity in the methodology adopted in many of the studies. Typically, there is a mix of quantitative and qualitative approaches; structured questionnaires sent to a sample of the target group are employed to gather quantitative data and semi-structured individual and/or group interviews are conducted to provide further data and a richer picture of student experiences.

It seems that these methodological approaches are rather unadventurous. The lack of longitudinal work means that most studies provide only a snapshot of international students' experiences as reported by the research cohort at the time of interview. Few studies provide a basis for answering questions about whether international students' perceptions and experiences change as they progress in the studies, or whether (and how) new policies, practices and attitudes are impacting on international students' experiences, or indeed how these vary between international and home students. This severely hampers the purpose of many studies, which is to issue recommendations on improving international students' experiences and institutional practices. These recommendations emerge from the authors' research but their practical value is rarely put to the test. There are almost no follow-up or action research studies, nor experimental or quasi-experimental work, to see whether implementing the recommendations, or any other initiative, brought about the intended or unintended consequences

Without longitudinal work, it is also difficult to examine re-entry issues. There is almost no research on how international students make use of their skills and qualifications on their return home, how long it takes them to re-integrate, how their education impacts on their professional development and competence. The cost-benefits analyses found in the literature relate to institutions only; the longer-term costs and benefits to the students themselves are rarely considered.

It became clear to me, since I started my thinking in the field of the relationship between student experiences and academic achievement, that it is important to become an active participant, rather than a passive observer.

Byram, M., & Feng, A. (2006). Introduction. In M. Byram, & Feng, A. (Ed.), Living

and Studying Abroad (pp. 1-10). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters LTD.

Meiras, S. (2004). International education in Australian universities'.

understandings, dimensions and problems. Journal of Higher Education

Policy and Management, 3 (26), pp. 371 - 380.

Song, Y. (2004)'Consulate General of Switzerland in Shanghai Commercial Section'ISSUE NO.2 Shanghai: Consulate General of Switzerland