Understanding Barriers to Student Success: What Students Have to Say

  • Elizabeth Kuley University of Saskatchewan
  • Sean Maw
  • Terry Fonstad


This paper focuses on feedback received from a set of qualitative questions that were administered to undergraduate students in the College of Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan, as part of a larger mixed methods study. The larger study aims to identify what characteristics, if any, can predict or are related to student success; The “start-stop-continue” method was utilized to assess student perceptions about  their success in the college as a whole. The students were asked: Are there any specific things that you can think of that act/acted as barriers to your success in engineering (stop)? What could the college do/change to make first year more successful for engineering students (start)? Is there anything in your engineering degree so far that you feel is done well and helps students succeed (continue)? Students identified the quality of instruction early in their program as well as adjustment to college workloads and self-directed learning as the most significant barriers to
student success.