Author: Jenny Chesters & Louise Watson
University of Canberra
Edition: Volume 56, Number 2, July 2016
Summary: The expansion of the higher education sector in Australia opened
up new pathways into university increasing the diversity of the student population. For non-traditional students, those who did not successfully complete secondary school, barriers to gaining entry into university have been dismantled, however, previous research suggests that non-traditional students are more likely than traditional students to drop out of higher education. This paper analyses administrative data for a cohort of first year undergraduate students attending an Australian university to examine the association between pathway to university and student retention and academic progression. Our findings show that after controlling for grade point average, students who completed an enabling course on campus prior to commencing their undergraduate program were less likely than students admitted on the basis of completing secondary school to discontinue their university studies. This suggests that enabling programs provided on campus may assist students who do not meet the minimum requirements for university entrance to complete a university degree.
Keywords: pathways into higher education; diversity; attrition
This article is part of AJAL, Volume 56_2. The entire volume is available in .pdf for purchase here.OnTrack to university: understanding mechanisms of student retention in an Australian pre-university enabling program