Factors explaining the academic success of second-year economics students: An exploratory analysis

Horn P. ; Jansen A. ; Yu D. (2011)


Factors influencing the academic success of first-year economics students have been intensely researched. Lecture and tutorial attendance, age, gender, as well as matriculation results have been identified as significant in explaining academic performance. The academic success of senior students, however, has received less attention in South Africa. This paper presents the findings of an investigation into the academic performance of second-year economics students at Stellenbosch University. Using a Heckman two-step model, the study analyses whether the factors explaining first-year academic success are applicable in the second year or if other factors are relevant. The results suggest that most matriculation subjects become statistically insignificant for second-year students, whereas lecture and tutorial attendance remain important contributors to academic success. Furthermore, academic performance in the first year is an important determinant of success in the second year. © 2011 Economic Society of South Africa.

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