What do students in higher education do and what do they value?

Lorna Rosemary Sibbett

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


A survey of undergraduate biology students at the University of St Andrews provides evidence that both formal and informal learning are valued by students, but there are differences in the extent to which such value is manifest in student activities. Comparisons between students with with different entry qualifications, indicated that those with "A" Levels spent more hours in attending classes; private study and social engagement via volunteer groups; sports societies and creative arts. Those with Scottish Highers spent longer hours on online social networks. As we are a Scottish university, these outcomes might be expected due to the nature of students electing to study at greater distance from their home. Such data do not provide evidence of weakness in the Scottish Education System.

Our survey highlighted one point for concern: level of study is positively correlated with the number of hours spent in earning. Whilst earning can be essential, and is itself an opportunity for learning, authors such as Callender (2008) provide evidence that employment has a negative impact on achievement. When class hours are reduced in favour of individual pursuit of literature and opportunities for project collaboration, students use the hours gained to increase hours in employment; they do not increase their hours in private study.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 9 Dec 2008
EventSociety for Research in Higher Education Conference - Liverpool, United Kingdom
Duration: 9 Dec 200811 Dec 2008


ConferenceSociety for Research in Higher Education Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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