The Forgotten Year? Tackling the Second Year Slump

liver buildings and clocksLJMU is leading a major £200k-funded national research project to investigate the performance and support of undergraduates in their second year of study. The project, funded by the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme and administered by the Higher Education Academy, is running from 2010 to 2013.

Project Overview

Research on the student experience in higher education has been overwhelmingly focused on the first year, emphasising the importance of front-loaded support. In the USA, research identifies a phenomenon referred to as the ‘sophomore slump’. This is characterised by a dip in performance in the second year. Preliminary analysis of institutional data at Liverpool John Moores University mirrors this effect.

This study aims to investigate Level 2 performance as an aspect of the student experience that has been neglected in the UK research. The project will examine large scale institutional data sets to characterise performance profiles across the levels. Crucial to this research will be to hear the student experience of the second year in their own words to inform development of support strategies at the mid stage of the student life cycle. Staff perceptions of Level 2 are also being examined.

Key outputs include: