The predictive value of Grade 12 and university access tests results for success in higher education

Muller, Anneke (2013-03)

Thesis (MEd)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Bibliography

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The final school examination is the gateway to higher education (HE) in most countries. Many students are however ill-prepared for HE because of a lack of quality education. Internationally, alternative access programmes are offered to address this problem. SciMathUS is the Science and Mathematics bridging programme at Stellenbosch University with the aim to allow educationally disadvantaged students whose Grade 12 results are below the standard entrance scores for admittance to HE, a second chance to improve their scores in Mathematics and Physical Sciences and then reapply for HE. SciMathUS follows a hybrid Problem-based Learning (PBL) philosophy, encouraging students to take responsibility for their own learning. While it is expected that performance in the final school examination correlates with performance in HE, this is questioned in the case of students who do not have access to good education and, as a result thereof, leave school with poor to low results. With the high demand for HE internationally, identifying students with the potential to succeed is however a huge challenge. Alternative measurements have been and are being considered and researched. The focus of this quantitative research is to determine whether Grade 12 results (Mathematics and Physical Sciences) and Stellenbosch University Access Test (AT) results could predict success in HE for students who first attended a bridging programme. Success was defined quantitatively and measured by the results obtained at the end of their first year in HE. Quantitative techniques were used to analyse the possible relationships between the different variables. The findings were that SciMathUS students managed to improve their Grade 12 Mathematics and Physical Sciences and AT significantly after attending the bridging programme. These results allowed them to participate in HE. No correlation could, however, be found between their NSC results or the AT results and their performance in HE. In spite of this, more than 40% of the students in this group passed their first year in HE with an average of more than 50%. Another almost 40% obtained between 30% and 50% and were therefore allowed to continue with their studies. In three faculties at Stellenbosch University, the former bridging programme students performed on par with their peers from the same schools who enrolled in HE directly after school.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die finale skooleksamen bied internasionaal toegang tot hoër onderwys. As gevolg van ʼn gebrek aan goeie skoolopleiding, is baie studente egter nie voldoende voorbereid vir hoër onderwysstudies nie. Om hierdie probleem aan te spreek, het alternatiewe toegangsprogramme ontstaan. SciMathUS is die Wiskunde- en Wetenskapoorbruggingsprogram by Stellenbosch Universiteit. Die program bied aan opvoedkundigbenadeelde studente, wie se Graad 12-punte nie voldoende is om toegang tot hoër onderwys te kry nie, ʼn tweede kans om hul punte in Wiskunde en Fisiese Wetenskappe te verbeter. Met hierdie nuwe uitslae kan hulle dan weer aansoek doen vir toelating. SciMathUS volg ʼn hibriede probleem-gebaseerde leerbenadering wat onder meer daarop gemik is om die studente aan te moedig om self verantwoordelikheid vir hul eie leer te aanvaar. Die verwagting is dat daar ʼn korrelasie sal bestaan tussen skooluitslae en prestasie in hoër onderwys. Dit word egter bevraagteken vir studente wat nie toegang tot goeie skoolopleiding gehad het nie en as gevolg daarvan swak presteer in die finale skooleksamen. Omdat meer studente tot hoër onderwys wil toetree, raak dit toenemend belangrik om die studente met potensiaal te kan identifiseer. Alternatiewe meetinstrumente word dus geruime tyd al oorweeg en nagevors. Dit is ook die fokus van hierdie kwantitatiewe studie: om te bepaal of Graad 12 uitslae (in Wiskunde en Fisiese Wetenskappe) en die uitslae van die toegangstoetse van die Universiteit van Stellenbosch gebruik kan word om sukses van studente wat eers die SciMathUS oorbruggingskursus bygewoon het, in hoër onderwys te kan voorspel. Vir hierdie studie word sukses kwantitatief gedefinieer en gemeet aan die student se gemiddelde persentasie wat aan die einde van hul eerstejaar in hoër onderwys behaal het. Statistiese analises is gebruik om die moontlike korrelasies tussen die verskillende veranderlikes te bepaal. Die bevindinge van hierdie studie is dat die SciMathUS-studente se Graad 12 Wiskunde en Fisiese Wetenskappe uitslae en toegangstoetsuitslae noemenswaardig verbeter het nadat hulle die program gevolg het. Hierdie uitslae het hulle toegelaat om toegang te kry tot hoër onderwys. Geen korrelasie is egter tussen die Nasionale Senior Sertifikaatuitslae of die toegangstoetsuitslae en prestasie in hoër onderwys gevind nie. Ten spyte daarvan het meer as 40% van die studente in die groep hul eerstejaar met ʼn gemiddelde persentasie van meer as 50% geslaag. Ongeveer nog 40% van die studente het tussen 30% en 50% behaal en is dus toegelaat om met hul studies te kon voortgaan. In drie fakulteite by Stellenbosch Universiteit het die voormalige brugprogramstudente net so goed gevaar soos die studente wat dieselfde skole as hulle bygewoon het maar direk na skool by Stellenbosch Universiteit ingeskryf het.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/80235
This item appears in the following collections: