BQuTMS, the attendance specialist, recently concluded a sector wide survey to establish best practice and the operational costs to universities and colleges in gathering student attendance data.
BQu estimated that the total cost on data gathering and processing is at least £7,000 per year, even though most people monitor attendance only on a weekly basis. Improving attendance monitoring and being able to respond quickly in a streamlined way would not only save money but improve quality and reduce dropout rates
The survey enquired about various aspects of Student Attendance including;
- Whether or not universities monitor student attendance
- Events tracked with regards to student attendance
- Importance aspects of tracking student attendance
- Methods of tracking student attendance
- Presence of an attendance management policy and compliance with UKBA Tier 4 requirements
There were responses from over 32 different Universities. Over 94% of the universities were tracking attendance though there were still a few that did not.
Majority track most interactions but in an ad-hoc manner, and over 52% use a combination of digital and manual process. With a mixture of in-house and third party systems are used which have evolved organically over time.
One of the largest cost elements of tracking student attendance appears to be the weekly reporting systems, where the minimum time taken to administer the system is 2 hours a week. Many spend much more time up to over 10 hours a week. This does not include any time taken to collect the information by lecturers and students.
Most Universities believed that when selecting a software system, the accuracy and the ease of information availability are key to the design of the system. Communication and interaction were seen to be secondary criteria, though this might be an evolving criteria in the long run. Monitoring attendance and responding quickly to non-attendance is the best way to reduce dropout rates which are increasing with the higher cost of University Education.
Ultimately creating an integrated real time system could improve the usefulness of the system, the accuracy and reduce costs significantly. This is as attendance systems have evolved rather than been designed and virtually no body used external advice. In the long run, reviewing the systems used and investing in a cloud based real time system integrated with other online student platforms could improve performance significantly.
The survey report can be downloaded from the BQuTMS website on http://blog.bqutms.com/survey-results-survey-on-student-attendance-data-collection/
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