First semester academic performance: The importance of early indicators of non-engagement
Success, progression and retention of students are goals of many university strategic directions and policies. For many decades it has been recognised that the greatest focus in any retention strategy should be on first-year students. University of Otago too has goals around student success. The Strategic Plan of the institution also identified that in the context of a fiscally constrained environment, all of our activities and processes need to be assessed for efficiency and effectiveness. To this end, a pilot was undertaken in one area of the university to identify possible indicators of first-year students’ non-engagement in the first semester and their possible impact on the first semester academic performance. The findings suggest that there are indeed some indicators that predict Grade Point Average at the end of the first semester.