Universidad de Chile (CHILE)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN18 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Pages: 6676-6681
ISBN: 978-84-09-02709-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2018.1585
Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain
In recent years, and in line with the international context, the Chilean Government has designed and implemented a series of policies to increase the inclusion of talented, albeit educationally and socially disadvantaged, students. These new policies have generated important changes in the compositions of the students in the higher education system. Specifically, the law of free education and the law that introduces the student’s high school ranking as admission criteria for universities has resulted in a significant expansion of the participation of the most vulnerable students in the Chilean higher education system.

These results imposed a challenge to the Universities in order to provide fair opportunities to students that did not cover the full contents of the national curricula. The literature presents different approaches and strategies that have been implemented for developing a more inclusive curriculum that provides vulnerable students the possibility to work in their content-gaps, and as a result, to achieve a better academic performance. Among the changes studied are flexible curriculums, the design of academic support programs for students; the introduction of diagnostic tests that would allow students to receive support and even generate differentiated academic trajectories that would ensure the achievement of learning. The impacts of these measures have been studied in terms of the retention and curriculum completion of students considered as a priority in terms of vulnerability (Thomas, 2002).

The present study aims to describe a successful experience at the School of Economics and Business at University of Chile, through the implementation of a flexible curriculum specifically design for the most vulnerable students. The University of Chile, as part of the public higher education system, has consistently increased the enrollment of vulnerable students during the last 8 years. The School of Economics and Business has developed support programs with tutors that, although at the beginning were successful, they have not been good enough during the last years due to the increase in the students’ content-gaps. In the academic year 2017, the School decided to implement the flexible curriculum in order to help the most vulnerable students to increase their academic performance. The results of our study suggest that the implementation of the flexible curriculum significantly improved the academic performance of the most vulnerable students.
Flexible Curriculum, Vulnerable Students, Academic Performance.