What accounts for student success, or not, in first year management subjects is worth universities knowing, notably in the case of internationals who pay high fees which funds rankings-lifting research. “It is therefore in our best interests (both economical and reputational) to ensure our international cohorts’ educational success” Anish Purkayastha and Elaine Huber (Uni Sydney) write.*
They review the performance of 960 students in a first year management course to identify factors that managements might be able to help with.
Well timed. Although they make no mention of it, the Federal Government has a particular interest in how universities are supporting students to succeed.
Among a mass of findings, some that stand out are:
- Tutors with a PhD are “more effective” in supporting “high-performing” students to obtain a higher grade, but don’t have the same impact for Pass students, “one possible explanation is that the high-degree experience of tutors’ is mismatched with the average students’ aspiration.”
- Tutor experience does not tend to play a significant role in student performance, “this can be explained since the tutor conducts the tutorial based on the scripted guidelines created by the core faculty members.”
- Gender of tutors “is statistically non-significant.”
- For every year-increase in student’s age, the odds of obtaining a higher grade rather than failing increased – across both genders.
- Every additional tutorial attended nearly doubles the likelihood of a higher grade, but there is an optimal number of tutes attended to achieve a pass grade
- Level of engagement with the learning management system does not significantly explain final results, but “this relationship is complex and requires further investigation.”
- Domestic students have a significantly higher likelihood of higher grades than internationals
- The probability of failing is higher for older international students, while the probability of their getting a Credit is lower – this points to the possible need of additional transition to university study support
- Higher entry scores for internationals does not greatly influence their chance of a Distinction, perhaps they are adjusting to new learning environments
* Anish Purkayastha and Elaine Huber, “What factors contribute to higher grades in a first-year undergraduate management unit: an explanatory study at an Australian university” Higher Education Research and Development HERE