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September 21, 2018

Placements: How effective are they and why do students choose not to do them?

Placement choices can have implications for outcomes and destinations of students. These choices can have a great influence on student attainment and opportunities; for example research has indicated that on average doing a placement gives a 4% improvement on final year degree performance of bioscience students (1).

Researchers have expressed the opinion that ‘science educators have the responsibility to change factors under their control’ (2) By understanding the reasons for placements/ career choices, careers services and education providers can identify best practice to enable students to reach their full potential. If it can be determined that choice of placements and careers can vary according to demographics, it has implications on the guidance for these choices and delivery methods for these experiences. Although the research is specifically based on Bioscience and Chemistry students at Sheffield Hallam it has implications for all university courses. This research investigates reasons behind placement choice and demographic variations in bioscience/ chemistry those choices, looking specifically at the relationship between choice of placement, career choice, academic attainment and graduate outcomes based on DLHE data.

Questions to be asked include:

  • Do current delivery methods enable fairness for all?
  • How else can we ensure that all students are able to maximise their potential to succeed in the graduate labour market?
Strand Student Outcomes
Type Campfire
Learning objective(s)
  • To have an understanding of factors and potential barriers affecting placement choices during students’ degrees
  • to understand whether these choices vary according to demographics
  • to think of ways to limit the damage of these barriers and think of ways to support disadvantaged students
  • to gain an indication of the effect of a placement on final year results and graduate outcomes