Research shows that students in higher education increasingly experience difficulties within and outside of university classrooms in terms of academic performance. Developing 'life skills', such as being able to set goals and being able to make plans to achieve these goals (goal-setting), increase study success of students, especially among minority and male students, according to Professor Schippers’ findings.
Goal-setting and study-choice meetings
The goal-setting intervention at RSM, introduced in 2011, requires students to complete an online, computerised goal-setting programme, early in their first year. The programme requires students to explicitly and fully conceptualise, articulate and plan their desired personal futures.
The additional study-choice meetings familiarise and prepare students for the study programme. Prior to enrolment, prospective students are invited to one of these half-day meetings in which they work in teams to perform several assignments about their study programme.
Self-efficacy and study success
EUR’s Community for Learning & Innovation (CLI) supports faculty members through annual CLI Fellowships, which provide financial support for projects focused on strengthening or innovating education at the university.
In the project proposed by Prof. Schippers, researchers in the goal-setting team will investigate the long-term effects of interventions on academic performance across EUR faculties, with a particular focus on subgroups.
“Our idea is that the combination of a goal-setting intervention and an intervention aimed at strenghtening commitment to the study (study-choice meetings) are most effective in enhancing study success and self-efficacy, and that this combination helps in closing the gender and ethnicity gap,” she said. “This is the objective of our research.”
Comparing effects across faculties
Prof. Michaéla Schippers’ project is entitled ‘The effect of goal-setting and other interventions on study success: Comparing the (combined) effect of different interventions at RSM and EUR'. The study is “a very relevant next step in order to look at long-term effects of previously proven interventions,” according to Professor Rutger Engels, Rector Magnificus of Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Prof. Schippers’ CLI Fellowship has been awarded from September 2019 for a duration of two years, to perform the study on goal-setting combined with a study which will look at the effect of other interventions at other EUR faculties as well.