Acceleration and improvement in academic achievement

Studying is becoming more challenging, but less open-ended. The VSNU and the universities are working hard to improve academic achievement, and it's yielding results. More and more students are finishing their programmes. And, increasingly, this is happening within the four or five years set aside for the purpose. The final figures may well be even higher.

In order to bolster academic achievement, the application date for students has been brought forward to 1 May, so that there is time for matching interviews. Open-ended study habits are also being cut back: a study programme duration of +1 year is the norm. This leaves the potential for experience abroad, administrative functions and (temporary) reduction in academic performance due to illness or functional disability, for example. Universities are also attempting to improve academic achievement through, among other things, the ECTS minimal requirements (the compulsory suspension of study in the event of under-performance), by bringing back exam retakes and by increasing the number of interim exams.

Another option for increasing academic achievement is to expand a regular Bachelor’s degree to a broad Bachelor’s degree. This would see students 'exploring' different disciplines, so that their choice of specialism is a gradual process. Because the student already knows the field to some extent, their eventual choice of specialism is well-considered. This reduces the risk of his or her 'losing' a year by switching to another programme.

The VSNU brings universities together, so that they can exchange knowledge. Many measures are obvious, some are being criticised, and others appear counter-productive. Which measures work? Why are they effective? And what lessons can we learn from abroad? To find answers to these questions, universities themselves make choices based on their profile.