n South African Journal of Higher Education - The differential validity of matriculation and university performance as predictors of post-first-year performance

Volume 14, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



In this study, support was found for the late blooming hypothesis which postulates that the university marks of educationally disadvantaged students increasingly overlap, from the first to the final undergraduate year, with that of their educationally non-disadvantaged counterparts. The point-biserial correlation between mean percentage mark and academically advantaged or non-disadvantaged group membership decreased for the same intake of students from their first to their third year of study. Moreover, for both groups first-year percentage marks were better predictors of subsequent performance than were matriculation marks and the difference in the predictive correlations of the percentage marks of these groups was smaller for second-year performance than for first-year performance. <BR>One of the most striking features of South African university enrolments during the last decade of the 20th century has been the rapid increase in the numbers of black students at historically white universities, especially historically Afrikaans universities. According to figures eleased by the national Department of Education (1999), black enrolments at the University of the Orange Free State increased from less than 5 percent in 1993 to more than 42 percent in 1999 and at the Rand Afrikaans University from 16 percent to 41 percent during the same period. <BR>It is common cause that students from schools formerly falling under the Department of Education and Training (DET) have been exposed to a school system which was inferior compared to that attended by their white counterparts. In 1988±89, R656 was spent per black child on education as opposed to the R2 882 per white child. Because staff constitutes a sizable portion of the education budget, this difference in expenditure was mainly due to differences in the salaries of the teachers at black and white schools that stemmed from differences in their respective qualifications. In the period just mentioned, 32% of black teachers were not even matriculated and only five percent held university degrees as opposed to the teachers in white schools all of whom were matriculated and of whom 32% held university degrees (Christie 1991). <BR>Although the departments of education for different demographic groups were integrated in 1995, the ill effects of the former DET may still be expected to prevail in the historically black high schools. Miller (1992) rightly cautioned that a change of departmental names would not immediately result in an overhaul of the deficiencies of the former DET schools. This article concerns the effect of a non-disadvantaged university training on the university performance of students from a disadvantaged high school background and on the predictability of such performance.

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