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Mapping the eight dimensions of the ideal student in higher education

Wong, B. ORCID:, DeWitt, J. and Chiu, Y.-L. T. (2023) Mapping the eight dimensions of the ideal student in higher education. Educational Review, 75 (2). pp. 153-171. ISSN 1465-3397

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/00131911.2021.1909538


Marketisation has directed higher education institutions and policies to focus on student support and provisions that promote better experience and value. By contrast, expectations of university students are under-researched and understated, with less attention placed on what and how students should perform in higher education. This paper further develops the concept of the ideal student at university, which aims to promote transparency and explicitness about what is expected of students, and potentially alleviate inequalities driven by implicit and unspoken rules of higher education. We report on the development and findings of the ideal student survey, conducted with 1,043 university students and staff in the UK. Factor analysis revealed eight dimensions of the ideal student, which we have tentatively described as Diligence & Engagement, Organisation & Discipline, Reflection & Innovation, Positive & Confident outlook, Supportive of Others, Academic skills, Employability skills and Intelligent & Strategic approach. Each factor is discussed with a focus on the differences between the views of staff and students. We conclude with a discussion of how the concept of the ideal student has the potential to promote better equality and opportunities for student success, by making explicit what is expected of university students.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education > Improving Equity and Inclusion through Education
ID Code:97033


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