I have a few questions about your excellent analysis itself. You mention the “governing values” from Tagg, 2007. What exactly are these in your context in reference to the issue of attrition? In low grade Japanese universities (not to imply that yours is the same level; I offer this merely as a comparison), a governing principle is to accept virtually all students who apply and graduate all students. This comes from massification and the rapid increase of ‘universities’ which has resulted in most lower grade HEIs running at far less than capacity. It is practically unthinkable to deliberately not allow a willing potential student to enter if they are considered able to complete the (low-expectation) course. Another governing principle in attrition may centre on the actual level of the courses provided. Many professors at TBGU were unwilling to consider pre-entry remedial education, but the BoD, to their credit, invested millions of yen into a whole support department for remedial training in maths, English and Japanese aimed at those students who may otherwise drop out. Perhaps at Avans, is there a blindness (not to suggest that there is) about any course content revision or provision of remedial classes? Also in Japan, very, very few students are made to redo a year, although a fair number do resit individual classes. The credit system allows for this possibility, but sometimes, I have felt, rethinking the Fordian year-based cohort system would be helpful for those students who really haven’t made the progress to a higher year. Of course, this brings in many other problems, not least in finance.
Perhaps a suggestion for you would be to look at the literature on attrition itself and relate the key issues to how policy has addressed them? Tinto (2007) provides a good summary of the state of the field. I did a brief search on “student retention”, “student persistence” and “student engagement” and found too many studies to comment on.
Just a few thoughts.
Tinto, V. (2007). Research and Practice of Student Retention: What Next? Journal of College Student Retention, 8(1), 1–19. http://doi.org/10.2190/C0C4-EFT9-EG7W-PWP4