Building Bridges: Strategies for Successful Transition from Secondary to Tertiary Education

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Education in Australia progresses predominantly through three main phases namely primary, secondary and tertiary. The transition between the three phases has been the topic of great concern and research. Transition programs between primary and secondary phases have been successfully embedded in our school programs for many years at most schools. It is in the movement between secondary and tertiary environments that there exist problems – many institutions cite poor first year results and high dropout rates reflecting disengagement at the tertiary level. There appears to be blame placed on the secondary education system in the later years by tertiary educators for not preparing students for tertiary type learning. Consequently, there have been many attempts to narrow this gap with mixed results. Attempts that generally come from tertiary educators rely upon their own secondary educational experiences many years prior, and as one would expect, teaching and learning practices have changed since then. The main aim of this paper is to focus on how to maximise success for students’ learning through a more robust transition from secondary to tertiary education in non traditional gender Programs. Endeavoring to build realistic bridges between the two senior phases of education can only be accomplished collaboratively between the two types of leaning institutions. Consequently, this investigation has been collaboratively produced between the Head of Year 11 and 12 of a Senior Secondary School and a Program Director of Undergraduate Studies at tertiary level in two stages. The first, to identify current teaching and learning practices and the second stage elicits student perspectives focusing on student behavior, pastoral care practices, and expectations through the use of a survey. The results highlight certain discrepancies with the transitional phase. Suggestions and pilot implementation with the School of PCPM at RMIT University will follow.


Keywords: Education Transition, Building Bridges, Student Behaviour, Expectations, Non-Traditional Gender Programs, Teaching and Learning Practices, Pastoral Care
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Building Bridges, , , Insights into Building Bridges to Aid Student Transition


Mark Vines

Program Director U/G, School of Property, Construction, and Project Management, RMIT University
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Senior Lecturer construction management 16 years experience, Registered building practitioner, Masters in Applied Scince (Build), Grad Cert T&L.

Jill Vines

Head of Year 11 and 12 of a Senior Secondary School
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Master of Education.

Ref: L09P1245