n South African Journal of Higher Education - Investigating the significance of the 2008 Matric curriculum on first-year Economics performance




The academic success of first-year Economics students has been the focus of many South African studies in Economic Education. Many used the last school examination (Matric) results as a proxy for students' academic ability. In 2008 a new Matric curriculum was introduced. Given various changes in the curriculum, the question arises as to whether Matric results are still significant in explaining academic performance, and whether the matriculants from the 2008 curriculum perform differently. Factors such as the students' time spent on studying outside lectures, their work status, and the impact of using an English textbook on the performance of non-English speakers are also investigated. A two-step Heckman model is applied to investigate the performance of Economics students at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. The main results are that students who matriculated under the new curriculum, worked part-time, spent less time studying, and are not English-speaking perform worse.


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