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Academic preparedness of students – an exploratory study

Du Plessis, L; Gerber, D

The high level of student failure, accompanied by an increased drop-out rate, isproblematic in higher education. It is especially a concern in programmes with thesubjects of Mathematics, Accounting and Science. Over many years, models of studentadmission and selection have been widely researched both internationally and in SouthAfrica. Research indicates that in the academic domain, underpreparedness results from acombination of a lack of English proficiency, mathematical ability and effective studyskills. In view of the above, and government policy directives to broaden access in the scarceskills areas to increase student throughput, foundation provision was introduced for students of Commerce, Information Technology, Business, Mathematics and Informatics courses at the Vaal Triangle Campus (VTC) of North-West University(NWU) in 2010. The question at that time then arose as to what criteria should be usedfor placing students in the extended programme. The placement of first-year students inappropriate programmes should be done with sensitivity to enhance academic successbut, at the same time, should not ‘label’ students as underprepared. This paper provides perspectives on the selection criteria available for predicting academic success/preparedness, and then reports on students’ own experiences. An action researchstudy was conducted on the academic achievement of two cohorts of first-year studentsat the VTC of NWU. The quantitative results of the performance of first-year studentsin their core modules are compared to the results of predictive tests written after admission. The results provide valuable insight into the placement of students.



Document Title: Academic preparedness of students – an exploratory study
Journal: The Journal for Transdiscplinary Research in South Africa
Volume: 8
Issue: 1
No. of Pages: 81-94

Document Type:Journal Article (Peer Reviewed)
Subject Area:Students
Country:South Africa
Keywords:Academic Programmes, Academic Success, Assessment, Student Aspirations, Higher Education, Higher Education Studies

Date Added:05 September 2012

DU Plessis, L; Gerber, D (2012) Academic preparedness of students – an exploratory study The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in South Africa 8 (1) : 81-94