Fresh initiative facilitates smooth transition

Students from low performance schools struggling to transit into universities would find a new project useful, if it is successfully implemented nationwide.

Massey University has launched ‘Enabling Academic Literacy: Smoothing the Transition to Tertiary Learning,’ in partnership with four regional secondary schools.

The project aims to help pupils to move to tertiary education without fear or inhibition.

The Teaching and Learning Research Initiative of the government has provided $200,000 to the project, which is led by Dr Lisa Emerson, Associate Professor at the University’s School of English and Media Studies as the primary investigator.

Professor Emerson and Massey researchers Angela Feekery and Ken Kilpin will work with the students at Hata Paora College, Cullinane College, Wanganui City College and Taihape Area School to promote the project.

Vital support

“The aim of the project is to support pupils from low-to-mid decile schools through the transition into tertiary education by providing a two-year programme of support in academic literacy,” Dr Emerson said.

She said that the researchers will work with the four schools in the first year to develop academic literacy of their Year 13 students.

“We will be resourcing teachers, developing peer support networks for teachers, and providing peer mentors for the pupils. The peer mentors will be Massey students who have been selected and trained to support the students,” Dr Emerson said.

The project team will continue to work with students who progress into tertiary study in the second year.

They will also hold a national Hui for secondary and tertiary teachers on improving the transition to tertiary learning through academic literacy, based on the team’s research.

According to Dr Emerson, many students from lower decile schools struggle to move towards tertiary education.

“Research shows that even if they enroll at a university, they often fail to complete their first year. Retention is a very important issue for universities, and we hope that our project will show an effective way in which universities can support and retain students through this vital period of transition,” she said.

The picture (courtesy Massey News) appearing here shows the team at the launch ceremony held at Massey University last month. Among the members are (back row from left Cathy Yates (Taihape Area School), Ken Kilpin (Massey CED), Mary Anne Sleyer (Cullinane College), Kerrigan Jacques ( Cullinanae College), Debi Marshall-Lobb (Hato Paora College) and Nicki Harding (Taihape Area School). Among those in the front row are (from left) Janet Greenhough (Taihape Area School), Lisa Emerson (Massey University), Shelley Morgan (Wangani City College) and Angela Feekery (Massey University). Kelly Nicklin (Hato Paora College), a member of the Team is not in the picture.

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