Pilot project

Pilot project 'Personal Study Advice' at Law failed

“We desired to have a dialogue with the students about whether the bachelor is something for them"

26-03-2024 · News

MAASTRICHT. With a new curriculum in the bachelor’s programmes Dutch Law and Tax Law in September 2020, the Binding Study Advice (BSA) was also suspended there. Instead, a Personal Study Advice (PSA) should ensure more student satisfaction. After four years, the pilot project is about to be buried.

“We wanted to move away from the BSA in which a sword hangs above students, that they hear on a certain moment that they are not allowed to continue their studies, while they don't understand where this decision comes from,” said Sjoerd Claessens, vice dean for education at the Faculty of Law, during one of the latest committee meetings of the University Council. The members are asked to give the Executive Board (EB) advice on the proposed decision of the reintroduction of the BSA.
“With the revised bachelor's programmes Dutch Law and Tax Law we also wanted to get away from the idea that everything revolves around the exams. A study is more than jumping through hoops.” That's why the so-called Personal Study Advice (PSA) was introduced in 2020. The alternative to the BSA is claimed to be more personal: “We desired to have a dialogue with the students about how they are doing and whether the bachelor is something for them”, Claessens explains. Above all, however, students under the PSA ultimately have to decide for themselves – with some advice of their mentor – whether they want to continue their studies. A binding decision about it, as under the BSA, is no longer given.

After almost four years on the testing bench, the faculty board, has now pulled the ripcord – the pilot project has failed. From September onwards, both bachelor’s programmes will return to the BSA. The reasons for this are twofold: “After a total of four years in the pilot phase, we still cannot say whether the PSA is better. This is troubled by Covid, as we can’t measure if students fail because of the pandemic (after effects) or not”, answers Joost Sillen, director of studies of Dutch Law to questions of Observant. They also see that some students that complete only a limited number of courses successfully remain enrolled for years. Claessens, in the U-Council meeting: “We couldn’t convince enough students (who showed too little progress) that it would be better for them to stop.”

What exactly is changing now the BSA returns? Just as under the PSA, personal meetings with mentors and, if necessary, the study advisors are also planned in, explains Sillen. But, as Claessens points out to the U-council members: “Although the meetings will still focus on the personal development of the student, mentors will also explain (legal) procedures after a negative BSA.”

Author: Simon Wirtz

Photo: Loraine Bodewes

Categories: News, news_top
Tags: law,bsa,psa,pilot,covid,failed

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