24th May 2016, 3:30pm to 5:00pm

Exploring the influence of student support initiatives on academic success: a multilevel modelling approach

Facilitated by Meryl Stone and Dr Todd Walton (Office of the Director, Student Life and Learning, UNSW)

This presentation describes the methods and outlines the results of a project that explored how the success of low socioeconomic students at UNSW was impacted by their interaction with support initiatives offered by the division of Student Life and Learning (SLL). Data from the Student Information Management System was integrated with SLL unit interaction data in SAS Enterprise Guide to investigate any correlations between interaction and success. Success was measured against various academic indicators such as WAM before and after interaction, WAM at completion and discontinuation rate. Determining the influence of support initiative interaction on these success indicators necessitated statistical modelling that incorporated the hierarchical structure and non-independent nature of the data. Multilevel modelling (also known as hierarchical linear modelling) was selected as the most appropriate statistical test for this purpose.
Findings show that SLL support initiatives contribute in multiple and diverse ways to low SES student success and that this diversity is a function of the distinct service missions of each provider. A further outcome of the study was the creation of a flexible and updateable source of demographic and academic student data created in SAS. This data source can be used for future studies, research and evaluation across the Division.

Meryl Stone_0.pngMeryl Stone has worked for the Division of Student Life and Learning at UNSW for the past five years. Over this time she has played a key role in several projects aimed at improving services and support for students at UNSW. She recently led a research project investigating how interactions with support and development services impact the academic success of students from low-socioeconomic backgrounds. In April 2016 Meryl took up the role of Project Officer in the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Vice-President.

Todd Walton.pngTodd Walton is a geographer from UNSW, where he completed his PhD in 2014 on the cultural and psychodynamic determinants of risk-taking in a socio-spatial context. His research experience has included local and international project work and publications in the fields of human and physical geography, geoscience and safety science. This has afforded Todd an understanding of the quantitative, qualitative and interpretative techniques and methods that he now applies to his current work in the field of higher education research at UNSW. 

Presentation Recording

Presentation Slides




If you would like to join this research group or would like more information please contact Lorenzo Vigentini l.vigentini@unsw.edu.au

Event Details
Public Event open to all
40 Seats available


Room 1025, Level 10, Library Tower

Key Contact
Lorenzo Vigentini