Identifying tertiary bridging students at risk of failure in the first semester of undergraduate study

Authors: Robert Whannell and Patricia Whannell, University of New England

Summary:  This study presents the findings of the second phase of a project examining the attrition and progression of two cohorts of students in a tertiary bridging program at a regional university in Australia. The first phase of the study (Whannell, 2013) based on data collected up to week 5 of the bridging program identified age, academic achievement on the initial assessment tasks, the level of peer support and the number of absences from scheduled classes as being the factors which predicted attrition from the bridging program. This phase of the study examined a sample of 92 students who subsequently completed a custom questionnaire in week 12 of the tertiary bridging program and then continued into the first semester of undergraduate study. Participants at risk of failure in the first semester of undergraduate study were characterised by being younger in age, demonstrating a high incidence of absence from scheduled classes and low levels of academic achievement in the final assessment tasks in the bridging program and reporting lower quality relationships with academic staff. The need to initiate interventions to target at-risk students prior to commencement of their undergraduate study is discussed.

Keywords: tertiary bridging program, attrition, educational transition.


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This article is part of AJAL, Volume 54_2. The entire volume is available in .pdf for purchase here.

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