Prediction of academic success of first year National Certificate Vocational (Level 2) students at FET colleges
Since 2006 Further Education and Training (FET) Colleges have been recapitalised through massive government investment in order to improve infrastructure, implement a more relevant curriculum and assist college learners financially to gain access to the different learning programmes. A new curriculum with 11 programmes was introduced and implemented under the National Certificate Vocational (NCV). The results of the 2007 examinations, were disappointing and in general, the national performance of the learners was dismal. Policy requirements for certification and promotion to the next level stipulated that learners need to pass all 7 subjects in a programme. The main aim of the study was to identify variables that are the best predictors of academic success of first year FET students. Thus, if these predictors are considered during the admission process of first year FET students, it could lead to overall improved first year pass rate at FET Colleges and contribute towards the enhancement of human resources and economical development of our country. In order to achieve the research aim and objectives, a literature study and an empirical investigation were conducted. The literature study focussed on cognitive and non-cognitive factors that contribute to academic success of students at colleges. The empirical investigation departed from a positivist paradigm to determine which variables contributed the best towards the prediction of academic success of first year NCV Level 2 students at FET Colleges and a quantitative non-experimental, ex post facto approach was followed .The results of the General Scholastic Aptitude Test (GSAT), the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory – High School version (LASSI-HS), grade mark average and biographical details of the registered first year NCV Level 2 students of the Vuselela FET College (Potchefstroom and Klerksdorp campuses) in 2008 (n=309), were used to determine whether any of these variables significantly predicted the academic success of these students. The investigation revealed that: • None of the LASSI-HS scales were predictors of academic success of the first year NCV Level 2 students; • The GSAT (Total) was a predictor of academic success of these students; • None of the biographical variables, i.e. age or gender, were predictors of academic success; and • Grade mark average on students’ last school reports, was a predictor of academic success. These findings revealed that Grade mark average, and GSAT-(Total) (which is also an indication of intelligence quotient (IQ)) were the best predictors of academic success of first year NCV Level 2 students at the Potchefstroom and Klerksdorp campuses of the Vuselela FET College.
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