Fri 11 Aug 2017

WITT plans a change from Foundation up

WITT has announced a radical review of how it delivers its Foundation courses.

The proposed new programme will replace the current Certificate in Tertiary Studies Levels 1-3. It has been developed over the past year, with extensive work by foundation tutors Ann Goulden and Lisa Dohig who collaborated with fellow WITT tutors as well as other stakeholders. The road to change was also enabled by the New Zealand Qualification Authority’s (NZQA) mandatory review of qualifications (MROQ).

The New Zealand Certificate in Foundation Studies will enable students to lift their skills, knowledge and qualifications to a point where they can enrol in higher level certificates at WITT.

Faculty Leader, Nita Hutchinson said Foundation learning was not about learning individual subjects and getting NCEA, it was about building skills and confidence, overcoming barriers, finding a direction and committing to taking the right steps.

The present model had been repeatedly tweaked and had not delivered  the best outcomes for students or WITT. Over the last five years, despite considerable work by staff, achievement levels had been static, she said.

WITT is awaiting approval from the New Zealand Qualifications Authority to offer the revamped programme with project-based delivery through a homeroom concept that sees the student complete three consecutive courses:

·         This is me – Tenei ahau

·         This is me in the wider world – Teneu ahau I roto I te ao whanui

·         This is where I am going -  Tenei taku haerenga

During this 17-week Level 2 course students will cover core numeracy, literacy, computer skills and working together. They will have a single main tutor rather than four.

Students will also select an elective subject and will be given a chance to learn content and get experience relevant to their next step at WITT.

Nita Hutchinson said the subjects were likely to include health science, trades, business and computing, art, hair beauty and makeup and fitness.

“Learners benefit from being together – but at present Certificate in Tertiary Studies is the only Level 1-3 programme  at WITT which does not keep the cohort together,’’ she said.

For those wishing to enter a diploma or degree programme at WITT, progression to new the Level 4 New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation would ensure they are prepared for higher level study.

“I believe this is a game changer for WITT and for our future foundation students,’’ Nita Hutchinson said.

“This semester we have 150 Level 1-2 and 75 Level 3 students. We know our retention and course completion rates might be better than last year but we believe we can do so much better for those students.

“Many of these students have had unhappy experiences in previous education, have just realised the value of education or have been away from classrooms for many years. They may have a fear of failing, and in some cases a fear of being a victim of tall poppy syndrome. It’s vital WITT can offer them a programme which encourages and drives them - because we all benefit from that.’’