Positive student outcomes achieved within a large-cohort health foundation year course in the face of a changing and challenging educational environment

Ricardo Joseph Simeoni


Successful outcomes (+3.7% improvement of average course grade) for large cohort physics teaching within a health foundation year were observed in conjunction with assessment modification based on reflective student feedback (resulting for example in formalized peer teaching and journal article-based laboratory report writing), and embedding student engagement and retention strategies within curriculum (such as the embedding of keys to student success and correlation data between course engagement and course success within a declaration to be signed by students). The changes were seemingly not due to random annual cohort performance variation given that the average course grade changes for all other foundation year courses, involving approximately the same cohort of students, combined was -0.22%. The physics teaching standard otherwise had remained consist prior to and during the period of comparison, as demonstrated by a consistency of teaching staff and core course material, student evaluation data, and consistently high learning outcomes for physics summer school teaching over the same comparison period. Also reinforced is that what works educationally for small groups of motivated students (i.e., within summer school teaching) will not necessarily be optimal for a large student cohort of wide ranging academic demographic.

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