The team has been working on a number of projects with collaborators across the University and the first results are starting to come in…

In a Traffic Lights Tool project run with partners from the Business School and the Life Sciences in the Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences, we have asked first year students to complete a traffic lights tool so they can self-assess their skills as they begin their studies and reflect on how they can further develop their skills as they do so. They will then be invited to complete a second copy of the same tool at the end of their first semester of studies to see how far they have come and reflect on which of their skills they still feel need development.

The images below illustrate visually the responses of first year students in the Life Sciences (top) and the Business School (bottom) and give a first glimpse into the confidence levels of students in relation to basic higher education skills. Each column represents a student’s responses to the ten statements they were asked to contemplate. In the Traffic Lights Tool, ‘Green’ stands for a skill the student feels comfortable they already have it, ‘Orange’ represents a skill where they feel challenge and ‘Red’ represents a skill where they feel concerned or anxious.

The ‘confidence maps’ shown below indicate where students feel particularly concerned (red lines) or very confident (green lines) and give a good overview of the self-assessed skills of students beginning their studies.

We will be spending the next few months digging deeper into these data and the qualitative comments students have included to look for patterns and identify major areas of concern for students and how they grapple and cope with these as they progress through their studies.