Academic success of mature students in higher education: a Portuguese case study
Lucília Santos: University of Aveiro, Portugal Joana Bago: University of Aveiro, Portugal Ana V. Baptista: University of Aveiro, Portugal Susana Ambrósio: University of Aveiro, Portugal Henrique M.A.C. Fonseca: University of Aveiro, Portugal Helena Quintas: University of Algarve, Portugal
Read article:
Full article (pdf)
No. of pages:
Publication type:

The increasing number and diversity of non-traditional participants who are now entering Higher Education Institutions (HEI) highlights the relevance of questioning on mature students’ academic success. Thus, the purpose of this study is to characterise mature students over 23 years old (MS23) of two Portuguese HEI, and understand their academic success. The study focuses on results obtained through a case study, based on quantitative and qualitative data: questionnaires and focus groups, respectively. We discuss the influence of different variables (such as: age, gender, area of study, schooling level at the entrance to the university, family monthly income) on MS23’s academic success, and we also describe some obstacles they face and changes they perceive when attending HEI. Results seem to demonstrate a similar tendency between data gathered on both HEI. Some recommendations for HEI, based on the results, are presented in the final section of this article.
Keywords: Academic success; higher education; lifelong learning; mature students

Volume 7, Issue: 1, Article 5, 2016

Lucília Santos, Joana Bago, Ana V. Baptista, Susana Ambrósio, Henrique M.A.C. Fonseca, Helena Quintas
Academic success of mature students in higher education: a Portuguese case study:

Ambrósio, S., Araújo e Sá, M.H., & Simões, A.R. (2013). A biographical approach to plurilingual repertoires of non-traditional students: an obstacle or an aid to navigation in Higher Education? In Doutor. C., Gonçalves. T., & Fragoso. A., (Eds.), Non-traditional students in Higher Education: Looking beyond (in) success and dropout (pp. 109-118). Faro: University of Algarve.

Baxter, A., & Hatt, S. (1999). Old and young mature students: painting a fuller picture. Journal of Access and Credit Studies, 1(2), 137-148.

Baptista, A. V. (2011). Non-Traditional Adult Students: Reflecting About their Characteristics and Possible Implications for Higher Education. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 30, 752–756. DOI: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.10.147

Bean, J. P., & Metzner, B. S. (1985). A conceptual model of mature undergraduate student attrition. Review of Educational Research, 55(4), 485-540. DOI: 10.3102/00346543055004485

Burke, P. J. (2002). Accessing education: effectively widening participation. Stoke on Trent: Trenham Books.

Chao, E., DeRocco, E., & Flynn, M. (2007). Adult learners in higher education: Barriers to success and strategies to improve results. Retrieved January 17, 2013, from http://wdr.doleta.gov/research/FullText_Documents/Adult%20Learners%20in%20Higher%20Education1.pdf em Setembro de 2007

Correia, A., & Sarmento, A. (2004). LIHE. National Context for Adults in Higher Education, in Portugal. Lisboa: ISEGI.

Correia, A., & Mesquita, A. (2006). Novos públicos no ensino superior - Desafios da sociedade do conhecimento. Lisboa: Sílabo.

Correia, A., & Mesquita, A. (2007). Learning in Higher Education: strategies to overcome challenges faced by adult students – lessons drawn from two case studies in Portugal. International Journal of Information and Communication Technology Education, 3(2), 1-14. DOI: 10.4018/jicte.2007040101

Crawford, D. L. (2004). The Role of Aging in Adult Learning: Implications for Instructors in Higher Education. Retrieved March 12, 2013, from http://education.jhu.edu/PD/newhorizons/lifelonglearning/higher-education/implications/

CSWD (2014). European Commission, Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion, Commission Staff Working Document. Retrieved Febuary 15, 2016, from http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1094&langId=en#_ftnref2.

Davies, P., & Williams, J. (2001). For me or not for me? Fragility and risk immature students’ decision making. Higher Education Quarterly, 55, 185-203. DOI: 10.1111/1468-2273.00182

European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice (2014). Modernisation of Higher Education in Europe: Access, Retention and Employability 2014. Eurydice Report. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

European Commission (2015). Key areas: comparing Member States performances. Retrieved Febuary 15, 2016, from http://ec.europa.eu/europe2020/making-it-happen/keyareas/index_en.htm

European Parliament and Council (2006). The Lifelong Learning Programme 2007-2013: education and training opportunities for all. Retrieved June 1, 2012, from http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-programme/doc78_en.htm

Field, J., Merrill, B., & West, L. (2012). Life history approaches to access and retention of nontraditional students in higher education: A cross-European approach. European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of Adults, 3(1), 77-89. DOI: 10.3384/rela.2000-7426.rela0062

Fragoso, A., & Guimarães, P. (2010). Is there still a place for social emancipation in public policies? European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of Adults, 1(1-2), 17-31. DOI: 10.3384/rela.2000-7426.rela0007

Fragoso, A., Gonçalves, T., Ribeiro, C. M., Monteiro, R., Quintas, H., Bago, J., Fonseca, H. M. A. C., & Santos, L. (2013). Mature students’ transition processes to higher education: Challenging traditional concepts?, Studies in the Education of Adults, 45, 67-81.

Garratt, D. (2011). Reflections on learning: widening capability and the student experience. Cambridge Journal of Education, 41(2), 211-225. DOI: 10.1080/0305764X.2011.572866

Görason, B., Maharajh, R., & Schmoch, U. (2009). New activities of universities in transfer and extension: multiple requirements and manifold solutions. Science and Public Policy, 36(2), 157-164. DOI: 10.3152/030234209X406863

Greenbaum, T. L. (2000). Moderating Focus Groups: A Practical Guide for Group Facilitation. Thousand Oaks: SAGE. DOI: 10.4135/9781483328522

Higher Education Academy [HEA] (2008). National Plan for Equity of Access to Higher Education. Dublin: HEA.

Jarvis, P. (1995). Adult and Continuing Education: Theory and Practice. London: Routledge.

Kasworm, C. (2003). Setting the stage: adults in Higher Education. New Directions For Students Services, 102(3), 3-34. DOI: 10.1002/ss.83

Kasworm, C. (2008). Emotional Challenges of Adult Learners in Higher Education. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 120(4), 27-34. DOI: 10.1002/ace.313

Kelly, M. (2005). The effects of increasing numbers of mature students on the pedagogical practices of lecturers in the institutes of technology. Irish Educational Studies, 24(2-3), 207-221. DOI: 10.1080/03323310500435497

Leuven Communiqué (2009). The Bologna Process 2020 - The European Higher Education Area in the new decade. Retrieved July 12, 2013, from http://www.ond.vlaanderen.be/hogeronderwijs/bologna/conference/documents/leuven_louvain-la-neuve_communiqu%C3%A9_april_2009.pdf

Longworth, N., & Davies, W. K. (1996). Lifelong Learning. New vision, new implications, new roles for people, organizations, nations and communities in 21st century. London: Kogan Page.

National Access Office [NAO] (2007). Annual Report 2006 and Outline Plans 2007. Dublin: National Office for Equity of Access to Higher Education.

Nicoll, K., & Olesen, H. S. (2013). Editorial: Whats new in a new competence regime? European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of Adults, 4(2), 103-109. DOI: 10.3384/rela.2000-7426.relae7

Oliveira, A. L. (2007). Quem são e como são eles? O caso dos adultos no ensino superior. Revista Portuguesa de Pedagogia, 41(3), 43-76.

Roberts, S. (2011). Traditional practice for non-traditional students? Examining the role of pedagogy in higher education retention. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 35(2), 183-199. DOI: 10.1080/0309877X.2010.540320

Rogers, A. (2002). Teaching adults. Buckingham: Open University Press.

Ross-Gordon, J. M. (2003). Adult Learners in the Classroom. New Directions for Student Services, 102, 43-52. DOI: 10.1002/ss.88

Schuetze, H., & Slowey, M. (Eds.) (2000). Higher Education and Lifelong Learners: International Perspectives on Change. London: Routledge/Falmer.

Soeiro, A. (2009). Third Mission of Universities and Engineering. In Pia Lappalainen (Ed.), European Continuing Engineering Education: Conceptualizing the Lessons Learned (pp. 53-60). Brussels: SEFI.

Stake, R. E. (2000). Qualitative case studies. In N. K. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 435-454). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Tavares, J., & Huet, I. (2001). Sucesso académico no ensino superior: um olhar sobre o professor universitário. In Pedagogia na universidade, Lisboa, Universidade Técnica de Lisboa, 149-160. Thomas, L. (2002). Student retention in higher education: the role of institutional habitus. Journal of Educational Policy, 17(4), 423-442.

Thomas, L., & Quinn, J. (2007). First generation entry into higher education: an International Study. Maidenhead: SRHE.

Wessa, P. (2012). Free Statistics Software, Office for Research Development and Education, version 1.1.23-r7. Retrieved June 1, 2012, from http://www.wessa.net/

Wyatt, L. (2011). Nontraditional student engagement: increasing adult student success and retention. The Journal of Continuing Higher Education, 59, 10-20. DOI: 10.1080/07377363.2011.544977

Yin, R. K. (2009). Case Study Research: Design and Methods (4th edition). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications – Applied Social Research Methods Series.

Yorke, M., & Thomas, L. (2003). Improving the Retention of Students from Lower Socio-economic Groups. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 25, 63-74. DOI: 10.1080/13600800305737

Volume 7, Issue: 1, Article 5, 2016

Lucília Santos, Joana Bago, Ana V. Baptista, Susana Ambrósio, Henrique M.A.C. Fonseca, Helena Quintas
Academic success of mature students in higher education: a Portuguese case study:
Note: the following are taken directly from CrossRef
No citations available at the moment
Export in BibTex, RIS or text