Pathways program to degree studies cited as ‘good practice’

The Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA) has showcased Avondale’s Diploma of General Studies on its ‘good practice’ database as an example of an effective alternate pathway to degree studies. The recognition is significant at a time when the Commonwealth government is seeking ways to improve access to higher education.

Avondale’s Diploma of General Studies (DGS), itself a higher education award, provides an alternate route for three groups of students: school leavers whose entry score does not give them admission to the degree program of their choice; mature-aged students who do not hold an entry score; and overseas students who may not qualify for normal entry to degree studies.

Individualised study programs are developed for students according to their needs. Students typically study some units from the degree of their choice along with tuition in the skills needed to succeed in higher education, such as critical thinking and reading, essay writing and assignment presentation skills, and IT skills. Students with entry scores close to the cut-off point for their chosen degree may take as many as three or four units from that degree program in their first semester.

After one semester of successful study in the DGS, students may apply to transfer to the degree program of their choice. Higher education units completed in the DGS are credited to the student’s degree program.

It is impressive that students entering degree programs via the DGS tend to do just as well as those entering degree studies on the basis of their school leaving scores. About forty per cent of students finishing one semester of General Studies go on to complete a degree, some of them performing exceptionally well. Up to seventeen per cent of students completing undergraduate degrees have entered their degree program via the DGS.

‘A significant amount of individual tutoring contributes to the high level of student success in the program,’ said General Studies coordinator David Potter. ‘The program provides lifelong opportunities to many whose options would otherwise be limited,’ he said.

Listing on AUQA’s ‘good practice’ database has sparked interest in Avondale’s pathways program from other higher education institutions. A presentation at a meeting of the Council of Private Higher Education has led to other invitations to David Potter to present and discuss his work. Academics from an Australian university have also visited Avondale to inquire about the program.

Caption: David Potter, coordinator, Diploma of General Studies

Tags: ,

Comments are closed.