n South African Journal of Higher Education - Do National Senior Certificate results predict first-year optometry students' academic performance at university?




Matriculation results have previously been used as reasonable predictors of first-year students' academic performance at university. Although there have been some improvements in access to education for many South Africans, the quality of the National Senior Certificate (NSC) introduced in 2008 remains uncertain. The purpose of the study reported on was to determine whether matriculation subjects' scores can be predictors of student's academic success in the first year of the Bachelor of Optometry (BOptom) programme. The files of 84 first-year optometry students who wrote the NSC examination from 2009-2011 were reviewed and their matriculation scores were recorded. These scores were compared to their results in modules in their first-year BOptom programme. There was a weak correlation between students' matriculation and first-year optometry results. Overall, the matriculation scores showed a weak correlation between the first semester average and overall first-year marks. Thus, the study found that NSC scores cannot be used as sole predictors of students' academic success in the first year of the BOptom programme.


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