The Ano Keme Essay

6582 Words Jan 29th, 2016 27 Pages
Caribbean Teaching Scholar
Vol. 1, No. 2, November 2011, 79–92

ERA

EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH
ASSOCIATION

An analysis of some factors affecting student academic performance in an introductory biochemistry course at the University of the West Indies
Victor Mlambo
Department of Food Production, Faculty of Science and Agriculture, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago
High failure rates at tertiary institutions result in unacceptable levels of attrition, reduced graduate throughput and increased cost of training a nation’s labour force. It is imperative that diagnostic studies are carried out to identify the major factors that are associated with suboptimal academic performance with a view of
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None of the investigated factors significantly affected academic performance.
This observation could be a consequence of an impressive performance in the coursework exams by a large proportion of students resulting in less variation in the recorded grades. Learning preferences were found to be independent of both the age and gender of students. It was concluded that more determinants of academic performance need to be investigated and that students who are admitted based on a diploma in agriculture may need a remedial course given that their coursework grades, though statistically insignificant were consistently lower than that of the other students.
Keywords: high failure rates, introductory biochemistry, learning preferences, mature students, gender, entry qualifications.

Introduction
The academic performance of students at the University of the West Indies
(UWI) has recently come under the spotlight for a number of reasons. According to a report from UWI’s Office of Planning and Development (2011), 10% of all undergraduate courses offered at UWI, St. Augustine have high failure rates. The

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Victor Mlambo

purpose of this report was to initiate a discussion on the possible causal factors and ways of addressing them so that academic performance can be improved. High failure rates are costly to all stakeholders since the throughput of the University is reduced. This increases the cost of training graduates as

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