This paper describes an evaluation of an innovative transition programme which sought to embed a culture of the university experience in school pupils by delivering Scottish Advanced Highers which are traditionally taught in school, in a university environment. The evaluation examines the impact of the first two years of the initiative via an analysis of both quantitative data and qualitative data gathered from interviews with key participants which is the focus of this paper. Kirkpatrick's (1994) four stage evaluation model was used as a framework. This model allows an examination of two key impacts: how participants feel about their experience of the programme and the increase in participants' knowledge of Higher Education (HE). Findings indicate that the range of Advanced Highers available to pupils in target schools increased, as did take up. Furthermore, the opportunity for pupils to learn in a university environment was perceived as beneficial in terms of providing a transitional experience to Higher Education. Qualitative evidence is reviewed in the context of the literature around acculturation, engagement, learner identity, being treated like adults and a sense of belonging. The article concludes with the implications of this research for a new model of outreach.
- access, acculturation, engagement, evaluation, immersion, impact, learner identity, transition.