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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.

Pages:1 to 12
Section: Articles
0 citation(s) in Scopus
3 citation(s) in Web of Science


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Author Biographies

University of Otago
New Zealand New Zealand

 Jacques van der Meer (PhD) works at the University of Otago College of Education and the Office of Student Success. His research areas are related to student transition and induction into higher education, student engagement, peer-learning, student wellbeing and student leadership. He also has an interest in student retention and achievement, especially of under-represented minorities. 

University of Otago
New Zealand New Zealand

Stephen Scott (PhD) is the Head of Office of Student Success at the University of Otago. He taught Zoology for many years before being appointed as the Director, First Year Experience in 2016. He has a research focus on the use of institutional data to investigate student engagement, retention, wellbeing and success for all students and for indigenous students in particular.

University of Otago
New Zealand New Zealand

Keryn Pratt (PhD) works at the University of Otago College of Education. Her research areas are related to online and distance learning and the use of information and communication technologies to support learning. She also has an interest in supporting postgraduate students.