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Arch Hellen Med, 20(3), May-June 2003, 269-275


Determinants of undergraduate performance

Laboratory of Clinical Epidemiology, School of Nursing, University of Athens, Athens, Greece

OBJECTIVE The object of this study was the investigation of the descriptive relationship of students’ academic performance in the University of Athens Nursing School with their individual characteristics.

METHOD The defined outcome of the studied relationship was the overall performance in the total number of courses in the program of study. As the measure of performance, the grade of the degree was considered. The determinants of outcome which were investigated were various demographic, socioeconomic and academic characteristics. The study population consisted of 110 Nursing School graduates, who graduated between June 1997 and September 2000. The empirical data were derived from the Nursing School records from a self-completed questionnaire distributed to the students. Analysis of the data was performed using the SPSS statistical package. The model of simple and multiple linear regression was used with the method of stepwise backward elimination.

RESULTS The grade of the degree had a statistically significant association with the following characteristics of the students: (a) the gender (P=0.019), females getting higher grades, (b) the years of residence in an urban area (P=0.041), (c) very good knowledge of foreign languages (P=0.000), (d) the duration of studies (P=0.000) and (e) the grade of the high school certificate (P=0.007). These characteristics, which constituted the independent variables in the model of multiple linear regression, explain 55.2% of the dependent variable variability in the grade of the degree.

CONCLUSIONS The ascertainment of these descriptive relationships does not necessarily imply their causative nature. The appointment of a descriptive relationship as causal presupposes the control of all possible known and unknown confounders which is exceptionally difficult in non-experimental research. For this reason, these relationships do not have causal explanatory value, but they may be of importance as predictors.

Key words: Academic performance, Assessment of performance, Degree’s grade, Determinants of performance.

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