This research project aims to investigate the current academic support provision for International Students, identify whether the current arrangements are appropriate to the student body at Aston Business School and, if appropriate, how it can be improved to support International Students with their academic performance and achievement.
Although previous research has been undertaken into the experiences of international students at university, this has not specifically focussed on academic support. Research into the international student experience includes Robertson et al (2000), Lizzioet al (2002), Misra et al (2003) and Abel (2002). These papers have focused on a range of issues including students’ stress levels, areas in which international students experienced difficulties in integration such as colloquial language and accents and feelings of isolation and also methods of teaching and learning and assessment methods. In addition, existing literature regarding student retention (including student support) focuses specifically on Widening Participation students i.e. those from non-traditional groups, and not on Non-EU students (e.g. Bean & Metzer (1985), Tinto (1975), Reay (1998)).
The current mechanisms for academic support at Aston University are deeply rooted in a UK-centric model. Within this environment, non-EU students are expected to perform and achieve as equals with EU students, and specifically those from the UK. In order for students to perform to the best of their ability, not only does the academic teaching and learning need to be reviewed and developed, it is important that the academic support structures are also in place to enable those students to achieve.