n South African Journal of Higher Education - First-year students' perceptions of generic skills competence and academic performance : a case study at one university

Volume 19, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



In view of the complex expectations of higher education and the difficulty of predicting the needs of constantly changing societies, it is important to determine the perceptions and expectations of students in higher education. In South Africa, strategies must be devised to determine whether, in what respects and what directions student development takes place. One way of determining this is by assessing students' perceptions of their own development by collecting relevant pre-entry data and comparing it to follow-up data for cohorts of students. <br>This article describes work at one university in South Africa where a number of comprehensive models of student development assessment were explored. Theoretical considerations are discussed to establish pre-entry, end of first-year and end of undergraduate studies instrumentation to determine change in students' perceptions of their own development. Analytical results from comparisons within one cohort of students and descriptive results of three consecutive student surveys are provided. The relationship between student confidence on eight generic skills areas and end of first year academic results of the 2002 cohort of students are explored and discussed.

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