School results and access test results as indicators of first-year performance at university

Bothma, A ; Botha, HL ; Le Roux, NJ (2004)

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Journal Article

The goals set by the National Plan for Higher Education, the fact that many schools are still severely disadvantaged as well as far-reaching changes in the school system demand that South African universities urgently reconsider their admission procedures. Redesigning admission procedures calls for a thorough understanding of the interrelationships between school marks, results in existing access tests and first-year university performance. These interrelationships were statistically investigated in the case of the 1999, 2000 and 2001 intake groups, who were compelled to write access tests before being admitted to Stellenbosch University. The results of this investigation confirm an alarming degree of unpreparedness among many prospective students regarding what is expected of them at university. This is aggravated by school marks creating a totally unrealistic expectation of performance in the first year at university. It is emphasised that schools and authorities dealing with admission of prospective students at universities should be cognisant of the findings reported here. Furthermore, the statistical analyses demonstrate several novel techniques for investigating the interrelationship between school marks, access test results and university performance.

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