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Can we measure the impact? An evaluation of one-to-one support for students with specific learning difficulties

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In recent years, there have been changes to the way in which the UK Government funds support for disabled students in England. Higher education providers (HEPs) are increasingly encouraged to embed support for their disabled students and adopt responsibility for funding their own models of support. This has led to questions at institutional level about the impact of the support that is offered and the role of that support in student retention and success. Against a context in which the Office for Students (OfS, 2018) has identified reducing the attainment gap between disabled and non-disabled students as a strategic priority, it seems timely to consider the role of specialist one-to-one support and the potential impact of this for students. Drawing on an analysis of attainment data, as well as questionnaire responses from service users, this research project sought to evaluate the impact of one-to-one study skills support for students with specific learning difficulties (SpLDs) in one, pre-92 university (established prior to the introduction of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992). When comparing the attainment data of students with SpLDs who had accessed one-to-one support, compared to students with SpLDs who had not, 10% of the students who had not accessed support had withdrawn from their studies. None of the students who had accessed support withdrew, and there was a positive correlation between the number of support sessions attended and attainment.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2020

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