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Academic Performance Essay

5957 words - 24 pages

Quality & Quantity (2006) 40:661–674 DOI 10.1007/s11135-005-2072-7

© Springer 2006

Research Note

Factors Related to the Academic Performance of Students in the Statistics Course in Psychology
` ´ JOAN GUARDIA∗ , MONTSERRAT FREIXA, MARIBEL PERO, JAUME TURBANY, ANTONIO COSCULLUELA, MAITE BARRIOS ` and XAVIER RIFA
Dept. de Metodologia de les Ci` ncies del Comportament, Facultat de Psicologia, Divisi´ de e o Ci` ncies de la Salut (IV), Universitat de Barcelona, Passeig de la Vall d’Hebron, 171, 08035 e Barcelona, Spain

Abstract. Many studies have examined the factors that influence academic performance in primary and secondary education as well as at university, with the purpose of ...view middle of the document...

Key words: academic performance, statistics, structural models

Author for correspondence: Joan Gu` rdia, Dept. de Metodologia de les Ci` ncies del a e ´ Comportament, Facultat de Psicologia, Divisio de Ci` ncies de la Salut (IV), Universitat e de Barcelona, Passeig de la Vall d’Hebron, 171, 08035 Barcelona, Spain, E-mail: jguardia @ub.edu

662 1. Introduction

` JOAN GUARDIA ET AL.

The difficulties encountered by psychology undergraduates in learning the contents of the subject of statistics are well known in psychology faculties, and among the lecturers of this subject, throughout Spain. We believe these difficulties are caused by two main factors: first, the great differences encountered in the academic backgrounds of the new undergraduates on being admitted to the university, especially in recent years following the introduction of the educational reform act known as the Ley de Ordenaci´ n o General del Sistema Educativo (LOGSE) and, second, and directly linked to this first factor, the fact that first-year undergraduates do not expect to find a subject based on mathematics on the psychology curriculum. Indeed, given these circumstances, it might be the case that not all the first-year students in the Faculties of Psychology possess the academic pre-requisites to cope successfully with the demands of the subject of statistics, which in the case of the Psychology faculty of the University of Barcelona is entitled An` lisi de Dades en Psicologia (Data Analysis in Psychology). a Various attempts have been made to improve the performance of the students enrolled on this subject. Since the academic year 1999–2000, the faculty has introduced an optional subject to raise the level of those whose mathematics skills are insufficient, known as Fonaments Matem` tics (Basic a Mathematics), specifically designed for those students with little training in mathematics in their pre-university courses in which the presence of mathematics is negligible (Arts and Humanities, for example). Furthermore, and forming part of the framework of pedagogic research which we seek to promote, a number of empirical studies have been undertaken in an attempt to determine the factors influencing student performance in this ´ subject (Barrios et al., 2000; Gu` rdia et al., 2002; Pero et al., 2002). This a paper can be considered as a continuation of these previous studies and, at the same time, as an attempt to provide a summary of contributions reporting empirical evidence over the last few years concerning the factors influencing academic performance in statistics. The first question to undertake, and a vital element in any discussion of the academic performance of students at whatever stage of their education, is just how we might define academic performance and, similarly, determine which indicators can be used in its measurement (Gabinet ´ d’Orientacio Universit` ria, 2000a, b). In general, the question of academic a performance has been posed as a global question and...

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