Analysis of the data is well underway, with some significant features of retention and attrition in enabling programs emerging. We are finding confirmation of the anecdotal evidence of significant numbers of students dropping out of their program before it begins, for example. Preliminary analysis is indicating that much of this is actually positive attrition with a number of respondents reporting gaining access to university before they begin their enabling program and others leaving to take up new employment. In general, it appears that much of the apparent high rate of attrition is actually due to students enrolling in the program but finding that their goals have been achieved or changed before the program begins.
Analysis of the emerging patterns of student attrition in enabling programs is suggesting a number of general principles underlying effective measures to improve student retention and these are being developed for discussion in forthcoming Regional Workshops [link: to page] as well as in later conference papers and publications. One significant area of development is in processes of identifying students who have enrolled but decided not to begin the enabling program: how can we offer support for their decision-making if they are not sure of what they want to do? If they have decided that it is not for them (at least not at this time) how can we best help them to make a positive exit from the program?