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Equity groups and predictors of academic success in higher education

In 2013, a cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional team led by Dr Jill Scevak, Senior Lecturer at the University of Newcastle, undertook the study Equity Groups and Predictors of Academic Success in Higher Education on predictors of academic outcomes for undergraduate students enrolled in a range of degrees. This study – referred to as “EPS” – aimed to contribute knowledge about predictors of academic success for students from a range of equity groups, particularly in the Australian context.

In Semester 2, 2013, as part of the EPS research design almost 1,000 University of Newcastle students participated in a survey in which they granted the researchers permission to access their academic records for the duration of their degrees. This access enabled the capture of longitudinal data, which would provide for the analysis of success predictors.

The EPS study was unique in that it captured demographics, equity characteristics and the psychological, social and learning profiles of students from equity and non-equity groups, allowing for comparative analyses. Further, the size of the data set allows for analysis of how the profiles interact and predict objective academic outcomes, and the access to student transcript data enables cross-sectional and retrospective and prospective longitudinal analysis of objective academic outcomes for the duration of student enrolment. This longitudinal approach, teamed with the psychological, social and learning information can inform the development of tailored support and interventions.

Having been entered, coded and cleaned, the EPS data is now ready for analysis. A senior research officer with high-level statistical skills, funded by one of the NCSEHE’s twelve research grants, will assist Dr Scevak’s team with the completion of their analysis and the publication of their findings. The team is scheduled to conclude its work in May 2015, after which time reports, papers, and a ‘guide for educators in higher education’ will be made available here on the NCSEHE website.

Dr Jill Scevak is a senior lecturer within the School of Education at the University of Newcastle. Dr Scevak was awarded her PhD in 1995 and the Faculty of Education prize for best doctorate. The focus of her research work has been on individual difference in learning dispositions and factors that impact on learning in a variety of contexts (schools, undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral). Dr Scevak has authored 43 major research publications, many of which have beenpublished in top-tier journals.

Posted 2 June 2014 Posted in General