Decreasing Student Attrition Rate through Tutor/Counselor Interventions


Contributed by: Sarah Guri-Rosenblit, The Open University of Israel

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The Open University of Israel (OUI) is the largest university in Israel enrolling in 2016/17 about 46,200 students. Since it exercises an open admission policy, the attrition rate of students is quite high, particularly in the first courses, ranging between 40% to 50%. Ongoing evaluations and analyses of student dropout patterns have highlighted the fact that many novice adult students (the average age at the first degree level is 30.8) lack basic study skills and writing skills. In an attempt to decrease student attrition rate the Support Division of the OUI provides a variety of tutor/counselor interventions and support mechanisms. 

This brief presentation will portray three tutor/counselor interventions at the OUI that purported to increase the retention rates of novice students at the first degree level:

  • An additional tutorial hour for students from the Arab sector - Around 15% of OUI's students come from the Arab sector, in which the attrition rate is quite high.  A decision was taken several years ago to add an additional (third hour) to the two hours tutorials held every week, and dedicate this third hour to learning skills.  

  • Study skills and writing workshops for novice students in introductory courses - In 2014/15 a special pilot was conducted on students in the Department of Sociology and Communication by providing them with study skills and writing workshops in their first course at the OUI. Their perseverance in studies has been compared to novice students that have not participated in these workshops.

  • Addressing  potential early dropouts – In 2015/16 a pilot was conducted on students who had not submitted their first assignment by contacting them by phone (either by a tutor or a counselor from the Support Division) trying to encourage the students to submit the assignment and discuss with them their difficulties.
    The brief presentation will focus on the underlying premises of these three interventions, and examine their effect in decreasing the attrition rate of the relevant student populations.   

More information about Sarah Guri-Rosenblit can be found at the The Open University of Israel website here.