Session Type

Presentation

Start Date

7-7-2011 10:30 AM

Keywords

academic performance, undergraduate, science, math, gender, student perceptions

Primary Threads

Other

Abstract

With the increasing demand for people with science and technology degrees in Canada, it is more important than ever for universities to focus on enhancing students’ academic experiences. Administrators within the Faculty of Science at the University of British Columbia (UBC) were concerned with improving the success of their students and eager to understand what factors students perceived as influential to their academic performance. This concern fostered the orchestration of a mixed method study with data being collected via a survey (~575 respondents), 24 one-on-one interviews, and a four-person focus group discussion. Based on an analysis of the data, the factors that students perceived as most influential to their academic performance were: developing appropriate study skills and habits; engaging and approachable instructors; the opportunity to practice what was being taught; their interest in the subject material; balancing academic and non-academic responsibilities; and developing positive relationships with family, peers, and faculty. Females, in comparison to males placed more importance on: the need for interactive and engaging lecturing techniques; the limitations of commuting; their relationships with family, peers, and faculty; and ongoing feedback and guidance. The results of this study have been presented to administrators and faculty within the Faculty of Science at UBC to enhance their awareness of students’ perceptions and to refine policy, practice, and student services. Sharing this research with individuals from fellow institutions of higher education would promote further discussion regarding how research of this nature might be used to improve student success in science disciplines.


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Jul 7th, 10:30 AM

Considering the Student Perspective: Factors that Undergraduates Perceive as Influential to their Academic Performance in Science

With the increasing demand for people with science and technology degrees in Canada, it is more important than ever for universities to focus on enhancing students’ academic experiences. Administrators within the Faculty of Science at the University of British Columbia (UBC) were concerned with improving the success of their students and eager to understand what factors students perceived as influential to their academic performance. This concern fostered the orchestration of a mixed method study with data being collected via a survey (~575 respondents), 24 one-on-one interviews, and a four-person focus group discussion. Based on an analysis of the data, the factors that students perceived as most influential to their academic performance were: developing appropriate study skills and habits; engaging and approachable instructors; the opportunity to practice what was being taught; their interest in the subject material; balancing academic and non-academic responsibilities; and developing positive relationships with family, peers, and faculty. Females, in comparison to males placed more importance on: the need for interactive and engaging lecturing techniques; the limitations of commuting; their relationships with family, peers, and faculty; and ongoing feedback and guidance. The results of this study have been presented to administrators and faculty within the Faculty of Science at UBC to enhance their awareness of students’ perceptions and to refine policy, practice, and student services. Sharing this research with individuals from fellow institutions of higher education would promote further discussion regarding how research of this nature might be used to improve student success in science disciplines.