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Exploring first-year academic achievement through structural equation modelling

By Kathryn Gow, Kirsten McKenzie and Robert Schweitzer


The purpose of this research was to develop and test a multicausal model of the individual characteristics associated with academic success in first-year Australian university students. This model comprised the constructs of: previous academic performance, achievement motivation, self-regulatory learning strategies, and personality traits, with end-of-semester grades the dependent variable of interest. The study involved the distribution of a questionnaire, which assessed motivation, self-regulatory learning strategies and personality traits, to 1193 students at the start of their first year at university. Students' academic records were accessed at the end of their first year of study to ascertain their first and second semester grades. This study established that previous high academic performance, use of self-regulatory learning strategies, and being introverted and agreeable, were indicators of academic success in the first semester of university study. Achievement motivation and the personality trait of conscientiousness were indirectly related to first semester grades, through the influence they had on the students' use of self-regulatory learning strategies. First semester grades were predictive of second semester grades. This research provides valuable information for both educators and students about the factors intrinsic to the individual that are associated with successful performance in the first year at university

Publisher: Carfax Publishing Ltd.
Year: 2004
DOI identifier: 10.1080/0729436032000168513
OAI identifier:

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