Building on the VU Block foundations: Results from the inaugural first year cohort

McCluskey_et_al_RDHE42.pdf - Published Version (1MB)
Restricted to Repository staff only

Mccluskey, Trish, Smallridge, Andrew ORCID: 0000-0001-6645-760X, Weldon, John ORCID: 0000-0002-8103-0636, Loton, Daniel ORCID: 0000-0003-4106-0555, Samarawickrema, Gayani ORCID: 0000-0003-4091-7027 and Cleary, Kaye ORCID: 0000-0002-9003-5084 (2020) Building on the VU Block foundations: Results from the inaugural first year cohort. In: Research and Development in Higher Education:Next Generation, Higher Education: Challenges, Changes and Opportunities. Heinrich, Eva and Bourke, Roseanna, eds. Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia, Inc, Hammondville, NSW, pp. 61-72.


In 2018, Victoria University (VU) implemented the most radical change to first-year university education in Australian history. Transforming the traditional model of concurrently studying four lecture and tutorial-based units into sequential 4-week blocks conducted in small, active learning groups, led to improvements in retention and results. Comparing the inaugural first-year student cohort to matched counterparts from the preceding year, this paper presents the initial results of an innovative, cross-disciplinary first-year change initiative which recalibrated most aspects of higher education: mode of delivery, teaching practice and curriculum to ensure student retention and increase opportunities for success. The data demonstrates how the approach has impacted on diverse student cohorts including non-English-speaking background students (up 14%), first-infamily (up 13%), Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (up 21%), low socio-economic (up 15%) as well as all domestic (up 9.9%) and international (up 5.8%) students. The paper challenges traditional assumptions of how Australian higher education is delivered and provides evidence that purposefully applying focused strategies

Additional Information

Paper Presented at the 42nd HERDSA Annual International Conference, 2-5 July 2019, The University of Auckland Science Centre, Auckland,New Zealand

Item type Book Section
ISBN 9780648550730
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1301 Education Systems
Historical > FOR Classification > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy
Current > Division/Research > First Year College
Keywords retention; first-year; Block Model; higher education change
Download/View statistics View download statistics for this item

Search Google Scholar

Repository staff login