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Identifying Student Engagement levels to improve student outcomes at Nottingham Trent University

StREAM platform triggers timely support for students based on student engagement factors 

Moving into Higher Education is an exciting opportunity for most young people but some students find the transition challenging and thousands decide to drop out across the sector each year. With 28,000 students, Nottingham Trent University (NTU) is leading the way in locating those students at risk of non-continuation by identifying low student engagement using StREAM, the early warning software developed by Solutionpath.   

Adopted in 2013, NTU uses the StREAM dashboard to improve the outcomes for all students. Designed to focus on student engagement – what a student does, not who they are, the dashboard measures student engagement by following a student’s digital footprint across the campus. This includes learning activities such as VLE logins, attendance, library loans etc. and gives each student an engagement rating. And unlike other adoptions of learning analytics, NTU provides students access to their own data.  

Ed Foster, Student Engagement Manager at NTU believes that “Engagement is the most important predictor of success. What students do is more important than who they are. Our analysis shows that, as might be expected, student engagement is the strongest predictor of progression and attainment. We’re very proud of our work prior to improve student success, both in our outreach work and supporting students once they arrive at NTU.” 

Better student outcomes  

As our first university customer, Nottingham Trent University has experienced double-digit improvements in just the first year of operation. The pilot project delivered marked improvements in NTU students’ academic performance, with 15 per cent more achieving higher than 3.5 GPA degrees. 

The project has revealed new insights into the importance of strong engagement, showing students that even the ablest students only have a 40 per cent chance of staying the course if they have low engagement. At the other end of the scale, those students who are highly engaged have a very high chance of success, regardless of their background. The system also has the potential to further improve student retention rates and promises to bring significant financial benefits such that the return on investment case is easy to make. 

David Woolley, the Head of Schools, Colleges and Community Outreach at NTU, says: “There’s a very clear association between students using the StREAM software, and their academic success, particularly when compared to their peers who were not using it.” 

The StREAM platform secured the ‘Outstanding Support 2014’ award, with NTU itself winning the prestigious UK ‘Outstanding Support for Students’ award. 

If you would like to hear more about how Solutionpath is helping universities make the most of their data, or would like a guided tour of the StREAM software, please do not hesitate to contact us.

To find out more about the work we are doing with Learning Analytics across the UK’s Higher Education sector, read another community case study.