What is it about?

This review aims to synthesise the available research findings from all courses in the higher education sector where fieldwork placements are components of the courses. We sought to examine the effectiveness of programs to improve placement outcomes of international students, regardless of their cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and to collate recommendations made by international students and/or placement supervisors that they felt might improve placement outcomes.

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Why is it important?

While the current literature drawn from educational programs in the health sector acknowledges the barriers related to cultural differences, language skills, and interactions with supervisors or patients exist, there are comparatively fewer studies that examine non-health care courses. There is also the need to identify effective programs to support international students in fieldwork placements across a variety of courses, both health and non-health care courses, to achieve satisfactory placement outcomes. This is particularly important for universities because resources can be allocated to programs that are shown to improve student outcomes.Results identified a large number of activities that could be used to improve placement outcomes. However, due to the lack of comparison or observational data, it is recommended that future studies be better controlled and include longitudinal studies to better identify the effective aspects of support programs. In this way, program and policy-making will be better informed.


I hope this review would help to inform future studies to design methods that would generate robust data to strengthen the recommendations form this review. Study designs may include parallel research designs, that were longitudinal, contrasted international and domestic students, and conducted from pre-placement to final academic year, would be helpful.

Den Ching Angel Lee
Monash University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Fieldwork placement outcomes for international higher education students: A systematic literature review, Australian Journal of Career Development, May 2019, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.1177/1038416219843628.
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