Academic performance of undergraduate veterinary students: a retrospective cohort analysis

De Cat, Sandra, and Emtage, Nick (2015) Academic performance of undergraduate veterinary students: a retrospective cohort analysis. In: Abstracts from the HERDSA Qld Branch Mini-conference. From: HERDSA Qld Branch Mini-conference, 6 November 2015, Townsville, QLD, Australia.

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The literature related to veterinary student attrition is limited, particularly in an Australasian context in recent years. With the increase in student numbers, the implementation of a demand-driven higher education system and the high costs associated with veterinary education, it is timely to evaluate factors affecting the success of veterinary students. Although caution should be used when applying broader data to veterinary education, it is well documented that student success is greatly influenced by student experience in first year. This study examined the relationship between a range of demographic and educational background factors of commencing veterinary students and their academic success within the course. The students included in the analysis were those who began a Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc) degree at James Cook University (JCU) between 2006 and 2014. A series of univariate (chi-square and one-way ANOVA) and multi-variate (CHAID classification trees) statistical tests were used to assess whether there were differences in the outcomes for students with different demographic characteristics and educational backgrounds. Of all students who commenced a BVSc degree between 2006 and 2008, 74% had completed the course by 2014. In contrast to the literature, prior to 2012 the majority of students withdrew from the course after successfully completing first year and subsequently failing in second year or beyond. From 2013 onwards, it appears that the majority of students that left the course, do so before commencement of second year. This coincides with a major curriculum review that was implemented in 2013 aiming to better prepare students to the integrated nature of the veterinary curriculum typical of JCU’s program after Year 1. The cohorts of students that have enrolled in the BVSc degree are quite diverse compared to the broader sector and the student body at JCU. Tertiary entry scores, students’ commencing age and their home locality were the only independent predictors of performance in the course. Otherwise students’ demographic characteristics (students’ gender, country of birth, indigenous, disability and non-English speaking background status, and regional and socioeconomic background) had no effect on success in the course. These results suggest that the JCU veterinary course does not bias for or against the diverse demographic background of commencing students and hence ensures reasonable number of graduates with rural or remote origins which was part of the rationale for the courses’ establishment. It is proposed to embed more blended learning activities in the curriculum to specifically support educationally disadvantaged students through the course.

Item ID: 58874
Item Type: Conference Item (Abstract / Summary)
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2019 06:11
FoR Codes: 07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0707 Veterinary Sciences > 070799 Veterinary Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 50%
13 EDUCATION > 1301 Education Systems > 130103 Higher Education @ 50%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9301 Learner and Learning > 930101 Learner and Learning Achievement @ 100%
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