Higher Education

, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 1–20 | Cite as

Pathways to completion: Patterns of progression through a university degree

  • Rosalie Robinson


This paper outlines a technique for identifyingand representing pathways of studentprogression through a degree course. Considerable attention over the last decade indeveloping performance indicators of studentprogress, retention and completion in highereducation, has neglected indicators ofindividual student progression. Common studentoutcome performance indicators are based oncohort or census-like counts. A new techniqueis proposed for longitudinal analysis ofindividual student enrolment and unit of studycompletions, to create pathways at the studentlevel. The frequency of individual pathwaysindicate the common patterns of studentprogression at the course level. Pathwaypatterns convey important information aboutchanges in programs of study, and associationswith student characteristics. Pathway patternscomplement current student outcome performanceindicators. The pathway technique is simple,accurate, practical and applicable not only tostaff and students in making informed decisionsregarding the teaching and learning environmentbut also to universities and governments inplanning and policy development.

completion dropout longitudinal performance indicators progression retention student attrition student flow transfer university 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rosalie Robinson
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Education/A35University of SydneyAustralia (E-mail

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