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Tutorial.png Unit 8 

Introduction |Full-Time Equivalency | Provision of Courses | Preparation for Examinations | Examination Performance | Systems Approach | Summary


The approach adopted to establish equivalency with conventional education is not simply a matter of academic interest, particularly where funding for an ODL institution is linked to such calculations. The different measures discussed in this unit yield very different numbers of FTE students, as illustrated in Exercises 8.1 – 8.4. Data for the Dublin Open School example is summarised in Table 8a below.

Table 8a - Dublin Open School: Full-Time Equivalent Student Numbers
Junior Secondary Certificate Course, 2005
Type of FTE Measure Statistics used Factor/Divisor FTE Students
Provision of Courses Subject Enrolments 27 639
Preparation for Examinations Examination Subject Entries 8.67 1,726
Examination Performance Examination Subject Passes 6 1,998
Systems Approach Subject Enrolments & Examination Subject Passes 2.53 4,736
Total Student Numbers Student Head Count 1 6,637

In this example, the number of FTE students is lower than the figure arrived out by counting the individuals enrolled for the course (the Student Head Count measure). However, depending upon how full-time equivalency is defined, FTE student numbers can vary dramatically. For example, choosing the Systems Approach will yield more than seven times as many FTE students as a calculation based on the provision of courses (6,637 compared to 639).

This example underlines the importance of this issue for ODL institutions, which must choose the most appropriate approach for calculating FTE and make a strong case for it in any negotiations for government support.

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