The UK government's widening participation strategy, and the concomitant development of a\ud mass higher education system, has imposed a variety of pressures on higher education\ud institutions. Not least of these is the changing nature of the student population, and the\ud assumptions that can be made about its skills and knowledge base. It should not be surprising\ud that this rapid expansion of the higher education system has resulted in declining student\ud progression and retention rates. This paper takes a case study approach and attempts to\ud identify the range of factors that might explain the variability of student performance on a\ud first year undergraduate introductory statistics module. The paper concludes that there are no\ud simple predictors of success or failure. However, there is evidence to suggest that any\ud innovations in delivery need to take account of individual student development and that the\ud presumption that students can rapidly become independent learners upon initial entry to\ud higher education is an unrealistic one
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