12% of students who started their Junior Fresh year in Trinity in 2017 did not progress to Senior Fresh in 2018, according to a report from the Senior Lecturer. The report found the highest non-progression rate among students in the Engineering, Mathematics and Sciences (EMS) faculty.
With an 88% progression rate last year, College fell short of its own target of 90% of students progressing from first to second year, as set out in the 2014-19 strategic plan.
Of those students who did not progress to the Senior Fresh year, 21% went back to repeat first year, 43% transferred to another course and 35% dropped out of College.
The number of students who did not progress to second year was higher in the faculty of EMS, where 15% of students either dropped out, transferred to a different course or repeated first year.
89% of Health Science students progressed to second year. While the faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS) had the highest progression rate of 91%, and was the only faculty to reach Trinity’s progression target.
The Senior Lecturer’s report highlights that male students were more likely to drop out of Trinity than female students. The report shows that 63 male Junior Fresh students dropped out of College last year compared to 62 female Junior Freshers. This is despite the fact that College took on significantly more female students (1,720) in 2017 than male students (1,219).
Students who entered College through the Trinity Access Programme (TAP) were also shown to be more likely than the average student to drop out. 20 of the 434 students who entered through TAP in 2017 dropped out before reaching their second year.
While it is possible to know the number of students who drop out of College during their first year, College does not collect data on the number of undergraduate students who drop out at any other stage of their degree. This fact has been highlighted as a problem in successive reports from the Senior Lecturer. The most recent report states that this data could be used to “inform the development and implementation of tailored interventions to support students during their time in College”.
When the report was discussed at a meeting of the University Council, the vice provost stated that College intends to discuss the definition of progression with the Higher Education Authority (HEA) so as to include students who change to a different course.
The vice provost outlined that given that the Trinity Education Project (TEP) is designed to encourage student mobility across subjects, it would lead to a decrease in Trinity’s progression rate under the current definition.