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Pathways to performance: an examination of entry pathway and first-year university results


Diamond, MR and O'Brien-Malone, A, Pathways to performance: an examination of entry pathway and first-year university results, Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 38, (1) pp. 110-128. ISSN 0218-8791 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1080/02188791.2018.1423953


Although diversity at universities has increased dramatically over the past 150 years, many groups are still under-represented relative to their proportion in the general population. Initiatives to improve diversity have included the increased use of entry pathways other than direct admission from secondary school. As admissions via these alternative entry routes have increased, concerns have grown that alternative-entry students are not well prepared for university study. Here, we describe the outcomes for students entering university via one alternative entry pathway and compare them with those of students entering from secondary school. We used quantile regression with restricted cubic splines to examine the relationship between secondary school performance (quantified by the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank; ATAR), pathway of entry to university, and performance during first year university. Entry pathway significantly affects the conditional distribution of first-year marks. Outstanding performance is largely confined to students entering university from secondary school (Year 12 entry), rather than from an institution for technical and further education (TAFE). Concomitantly, for any given ATAR, the risk of failure is higher amongst Year 12 entry students than among TAFE entry students. The results have substantial implications for changes in admission criteria and for the public funding of universities.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:University admission pathway, quantile regression, student potential, Australian tertiary admission rank, ATAR, admission criteria
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Specialist studies in education
Research Field:Education assessment and evaluation
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Teaching and curriculum
Objective Field:Assessment, development and evaluation of curriculum
UTAS Author:Diamond, MR (Dr Mark Diamond)
UTAS Author:O'Brien-Malone, A (Dr Angela O'Brien-Malone)
ID Code:151371
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2022-07-28
Last Modified:2022-09-19

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