1 Tele-universite / SAVIE (CANADA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 894-902
ISBN: 978-84-606-5763-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2015
Location: Madrid, Spain
Who are the students abandoning post-secondary studies? What variables predict their dropping out? What measures should be put into place to help prevent students from dropping out?

Abandonment and student perseverance in post-secondary education are major challenges for post-secondary institutions, especially because they are increasingly challenged to maintain their student clientele during their first year of study. The OECD (2010) indicates a 31% rate of abandonment of post-secondary education in its member countries. In order to better target interventions needed to address the abandonment of university studies, we first sought to understand what leads a person to leave their program of study. We found that the factors susceptible of influencing the abandonment of studies are many and come from varied sources: personal problems (orientation, education funding, and support from relatives), academic difficulties (ignorance of their study program and the facilities of the institution, prior knowledge and deficient learning strategies) as well as social difficulties (interpersonal problems with students, faculty and staff of the institution).

Based on the hypothesis that the decision to drop out of school is related to a set of variables, our study pursued a dual purpose:
1) establishing and analyzing, from a qualitative and quantitative point of view, the determining factors for dropping out of accounting sciences in Quebec and
2) guiding students, according to the determining factors that were identified, towards existing support tools for perseverance and promoting them in the accounting sciences.

For the purposes of this paper, we will focus on the challenges faced by students in terms of learning strategies. To address these difficulties, we asked students to identify the cognitive and self-regulatory strategies they wish to improve to succeed in their education through the help of an online device, SAMI-Perseverance ( A descriptive analysis of 883 respondents has highlighted the important deficient learning strategies from our sample: it is mostly time management, listening and reading strategies as well as the management of attention, concentration and memory. In other words, students are not able to effectively manage their time (balancing family, work and studies) or able to estimate the time needed to devote to their studies. They are unaware of strategies to easily retain information they read in books or in photocopied or online texts, as well as those strategies needed for listening to a presentation or a demonstration given by a teacher or strategies for doing exercises in applying one or many procedures that they must learn and also strategies for problem solving. They have difficulty concentrating and remembering, which affects their academic performance.

Our paper will present SAMI-Perseverance, an online device for screening difficulties experienced by students, and the results of the study. Recommendations of measures to be put in place to support student retention and student success will also be formulated.
Learning strategies, online device, abandonment, post-secondary education.