Developing multiple exit pathways within undergraduate degrees
This paper advocates an expansion of nested undergraduate courses in Australian universities, where students can exit at multiple points throughout the degree and receive formal qualification for partial course completion. Nested courses are not new in Australian higher education, and the authors examine the prevalence and type of these courses across the sector. However, the practice of nesting qualifications, and of scaffolding certifications throughout a degree, remains more prevalent at postgraduate than undergraduate level. Consequently, many students successfully complete part of a degree but receive no recognition, while others struggle to transfer between institutions. Moreover, under-represented students are disproportionately likely to withdraw from university, and to receive no recognition for partial successful completion. Increasing the number of formal exit pathways within undergraduate degrees may be therefore an important way of reducing attrition, promoting student mobility, and reducing inequities across the higher education sector.
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