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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 30, No. 7. 1967.

First year pass rates

First year pass rates


New statistics show academic abilities decide primarily which students will pass or fail at university, and these outweigh the background factors such as accommodation, social activities, family background and aptitude for study.

This was brought to light by Dr. J. J. Small, a senior lecturer at Canterbury University, who has just published a book called "Achievement and Adjustment in the First year at University."

From a study of 99 picked students (first year), of which 33 passed all their units, 47 passed one or more, and 19 failed all their units.

He found that the 33 who passed everything were younger than the others and had good academic records at school.

However, he thought that both this group and those students who failed all their units showed a need for help in their personal lives, the average student being less troubled by personal problems.

While he considered pre-entry screenings and a compulsory examination advantageous, Dr. Small found only 75 per cent accuracy of prediction as to how successful entrants would be at university was possible as the performance of students was so idiosyncratic.

Dr. Small's book shows that standards in secondary schools vary considerably and create unbalanced levels for entry, and too few schools prepare their sixth formers for the study techniques they will need to use at university.