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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The prediction of university freshman performance on the basis of high school achievement in British Columbia. Crompton, Onesia


University of British Columbia between high school achievement, as represented by grade twelve results, and university performance, as represented by first year standing. The aim of the work was to provide counsellors, both at the University of British Columbia and in the secondary schools of this province with predictive information for use in counselling. The high school variables used were letter grade average, percentage average, standing at first attempt, recommendation, number of Departmental examinations written, and major subjects taken. The criterion of university performance used was first year standing in April. A sample of 737 students was chosen from the Faculty of Arts and Science during the academic year of 1957-58. The students chosen had completed their final year in a public high school in British Columbia, were not repeating any first year university courses, and had had an uninterrupted secondary education. They had registered for at least fifteen units of course work, which included English 100-101, Mathematics 100 or 101, a foreign language, a science, and an elective. Results of this study can therefore be used adequately only with students of comparable high school background and with similar freshman programmes. Literature relevant to the areas investigated in this study was reviewed. By use of the Chi-Square technique and of a method of partitioning Chi-Square, it was determined whether the difference in freshman performance was significant among the students grouped according to the various high school variables, and where the difference lay. Contingency coefficients were calculated to show the degree of relationship between the variables and the criterion. Most of the results of the investigation were in agreement with those reported by other authors who had conducted similar studies. It was found that there is a high positive relationship between freshman standing and grade twelve average, whether letter grade or percentage, that students who complete University Entrance standing at first attempt perform at a higher level at university than students who are required to make more than one attempt, that recommended students are better academic risks than non-recommended students, and that students who are required to write three or more Departmental examinations are more likely to fail at university than students who write just one or two examinations. Contrary to most studies, and agreeing rather with the exceptions, it was found that there is some relationship between major subjects taken in high school and freshman standing. Students who have included in their high school programmes Mathematics, Science, English, and Social Studies as majors are less likely to fail at university than students who take Mathematics and Science majors but omit English and Social Studies majors. Students who have taken a high school foreigh language major are more successful in first year university than those who omit a foreign language major. A word of caution was included regarding the impossibility of perfect prediction for all students owing to the unreliability of marks, to individual differences, and to personal problems, adjustment and growth. Within the specified limitations of the results, the study indicated that high school achievement could be used effectively in prediction of performance at university. A number of suggestions for further study were mentioned, the most strongly recommended of which were a study of the possibility of using a prediction formula including both high school achievement records and aptitude test results, and an investigation of capable students who do not proceed to university.

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