Congresos y reuniones científicas
Tracing the factors underliying academic performance and drop-out rate diferentials among students in a mass higher education institution of Argentina
Encuentro; INTED 2008; 2008
Institución organizadora:

The academic performance and the early drop out of the students (ghost students) are issues of concern within mass Higher Education institutions around the developing world. Both issues are studied in this work with data that captured academic and personal characteristics of the population of two cohorts of students (2000 and 2003) at the Faculty of Economic Sciences (National University of Córdoba), a mass Higher Education institution, providing key inputs to the process of economic growth, now under way in Argentina at an 7%-8% rate per year. However, this is a traditional institution which is still characterized by high drop out rates and low academic performance. In this respect, the entrance examination process is a cause of concern being explored in the paper, because the demand for high quality professionals in these areas may double in the country, in the next 10 years. The role of High School as the preparatory training step to the university is also highlighted as a potential barrier to high quality learning to these groups of students. Furthermore, the study of the two cohorts may add to the understanding of the consequences of the 2001-2 severe economic upheavals on the academic achievements of the students. First, logit models fitted to the data allowed to identify the main variables that contributed to explain both, the probability of showing no academic activity, and the probability of showing academic activity but not passing the minimum number of subjects per year set by the national Higher Education law. Then, two indicators were specifically defined to assess the academic performance of individual students with academic activity: the grade point average of the

tests passed by the student (performance index), and the ratio of the number of tests passed to the

number of exams sat for (efficiency index). Both indicators were used as response variables in linear regression models that included co-variables capturing socio-economic aspects and previous

secondary school records of the students. Results revealed that average score in the secondary

school, average score in the introductory course to the University, and over-age, were all significant

for explaining the probability of showing no academic activity (ghost student), and for explaining the

probability of not achieving the Higher Education law mandatory requirement. Average score in the

secondary school, and in some cases the type of training orientation received, were also significant

explanatory co-variables for explaining the academic performance.