UvA Matching: a good benchmark for study progress
Students who participate in UvA Matching and receive a positive recommendation will obtain more credits in the first year than ‘matchers’ with a negative recommendation or students who do not engage in matching at all. Non-matchers also drop out significantly more often in the first academic year than students who do participate in matching. These conclusions became evident from the evaluation of four years' UvA Matching that was carried out by an external research agency, ResearchNed, at the behest of the UvA.
In 2014, the Study Check was first offered in the form of UvA Matching. The Matching Week creates a realistic educational experience which imitates first-year education. UvA Matching specifically comprises on-site education, self-study and a form of assessment.
Positive recommendation vs negative recommendation
The evaluation showed that the number of dropouts in the first year has remained stable over the years. There does not seem to be any connection to the introduction of UvA Matching. Analyses do show, however, that 'matched' participants drop out less in the first academic year.
As became evident from the evaluation, the realistic and representative educational experience of UvA Matching is highly appreciated by the participants. They indicated that the Matching Week increased their confidence in having made the right choice.
The added bonuses of UvA Matching are important here. Students have a stronger bond with the degree programme, are better prepared for study and already benefit from social integration as well as the formation of student groups before the start of the programme. Another positive development is that the phenomenon of no-shows – students who no longer show up in September – has become a thing of the past.
With respect to study progress and study success, matching is a good way to determine whether students will complete a degree programme in a more or less successful manner. Students with a positive recommendation perform better than students with a negative recommendation who still commence the programme.
A number of recommendations were made following this evaluation. The positive results have resulted in a decision in any case to continue with UvA Matching and mainly keep the same set-up of the Matching Week. It will be assessed, however, whether study programmes can vary in respect of set-up and structure within fixed frameworks. UvA Matching is considered to be a part of the academic integration within the first study phase. As a result, there is an urgent need for a strong focus on the bond with the degree programme. This fact means that matching for prospective Dutch students could contain a location-bound element, for example.