Save the dropouts

September 21, 2007

Before getting too satisfied about the results of the National Student Survey, we should remember that the sample is only of those students who survived to their final year ("Students: yes, we're satisfied", September 14). At least 20 per cent of students will have dropped out before then and will be much less satisfied with their experience.

As is so often the case, dropout students' experience is disregarded, yet they were admitted to their institutions with the ability to succeed.

As Liz McDowell suggests ("Don't weed out, help students blossom", September 7) and as Lew Hardy's work in the Army ("Attention! Top brass agree new manoeuvre", November 4, 2005) has found in practice, we must move away from weeding people out to helping as many as possible to succeed.

Ormond Simpson
Senior lecturer in institutional research,
Institute of Educational Technology, Open University

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