Developing a national approach to improve student success in higher education: New insights from a comparative analysis of England and the Czech Republic

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Increasing the number of students who complete their higher education (HE) studies is growing in importance across Europe; it is seen to contribute to individual and national prosperity, and to improve the efficiency of the HE system. The Higher Education Drop-out and Completion in Europe (HEDOCE) project examined the issue of ‘study success’. The methodology utilized a literature and policy review, two surveys of an HE expert in each European country, and eight in-depth mixed-method national case studies. This paper considers how in many European countries study success is not explicitly defined, and national policies can be ambiguous or even detrimental due to the lack of clarity about, and alignment with, study success. These flaws are reinforced by the lack of indicators and tools to measure study success, which would facilitate evaluation to improve national policies and institutional actions. These issues are illuminated by a comparison between the Czech Republic and England. A widely-agreed definition of study success contributes to better policy alignment, and allows performance indicators to be developed, which fosters a more coherent national and institutional approach to improving study success, but this needs to be underpinned by a shared national commitment which values and promotes study success.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-188
Number of pages24
JournalHungarian Educational Research Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sept 2019


  • higher education
  • student success
  • clarity
  • policy alignment
  • quality assurance
  • performance indicators
  • national commitment

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