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Factors Influencing Academic Performance of University Students

ABSTRACT: Considering the increasing reports of high student failure rates as well dropout rates worldwide, this study sought to statistically determine what students perceive as the highly influential academic success and or failure factors. The hope was to uncover these factors so as to provide some direction in terms of intervention. A quantitative approach was followed in pursuing this. The population for the study consisted of second year students because they fit the context within which this study defines success and failure. The findings reveal a mix of factors some of which are consistent with previous research on student academic performance. This study derives its uniqueness from the perspective of the significance of the discipline – entrepreneurship, which has been touted as the major economic force that can deliver the necessary socioeconomic development to a country. The results of this study will not only add to the global literature on student academic performance, but will also provide those in management of higher education with the necessary material for intervening in issues of student academic performance. Further research might consider increasing the population size to gain much deeper insights into the perceptions. It may also help to undertake a different research methodology in the form of one-on-one interviews or focus group interviews.

Published in ІSSN 2072-9480. Demography and Social Economy, 2015, № 2 (24)

Link to the Pdf: Factors Influencing Academic Performance of University Students

Failure – its true meaning

There are various consequences of failing at any level of education, be it failing a test, an assignment, or a semester mark etc. Research indicates that the consequences are underestimated by a multitude. Difficult it may be to express it in monetary terms, economists explains it as opportunity cost (this means that a learner who fails a test, semester for example forgo some of the benefits that would have been enjoyed by a pass). Psychologists link it to stress and an injured social life. Economically, retarded human resource gains are experienced.

On behalf of Supreme Educators, I (Lucky Sibanda) would like to extend our appreciation to our fans for liking this page.

Just to give an overview of those who might be wondering what page is this, here is a brief description:

“Supreme Educators is an initiative that was born after realising the need of supplementary tuition apart from what learners receive from high school, colleges and universities. It is based in Cape Town. Through tutoring, Supreme Educators strives to ensure that learners complete their qualifications within minimum time frame.

It is common some learners take long to complete their qualifications due to various factors. We understand and acknowledge that we are not equal as human beings hence the need for additional time, what matters is the understanding of concepts at the end.

Though it might seem difficult to understand this, GDP is negatively affected by delayed completion of a course by a student. Upon an institution, it brings more fees yet this is not a desirable situation in terms of dwindled throughput as well as negative connotations.

Fraiser and Killen (2003) present an article which puts some suggested assumptions when registering a student by an institution though it is originally meant to present student perception on success and failure factors. They insist that students should only be registered only if they show some degree of successfully completing the qualification within the prescribed duration. However, with an alarming competition for clients (students), we see some learners being enrolled at tertiary institutions without having recommended capacity. Anyway, let me leave this for an academic article. In essence, education should focus on the clients’ side not on the financial bottom line.

In fact, time is money, it can never be bought. Once lost, it can never be recovered. We should bear in mind that we live once hence there is no time to wait for a second chance. Living for a handful of years is not a problem especially when wisely spent, the problem is when those years are recklessly spend when one needs another chance to live.

Robin Sharma

1. Know what you want. Clarity is power. And vague goals promote vague results.
2. Remember that every problem has a solution. Maybe you just can’t see it. Yet. 
3. In this Age of Dramatic Distraction, the performer who focuses the best wins the most. 
4. Before someone will help you, you need to help them. 
5. Become the most passionate person you know. It’ll be contagious. 
6. Know more about your craft/the work you do than anyone who has ever done the work you do…in the history of the world. 
7. Join The 5 am Club. Your most valuable hours are 5am-8 am. 
8. They have the least interruptions. Devote yourself to learning something new about your field of mastery every day. Success belongs to the relentless learners. Because as you know more, you can achieve more. 
9. Remember that when you transform your fitness, you’ll transform your business. 
10. Don’t check your mobile when you’re meeting with another person. It’s rude. And rude people don’t reach world-class. 
11. Every time you do what scares you, you take back the power that you gave to the thing that scared you. And so you become more powerful. 
12. A problem is only a problem if you make the choice to see it as a problem. 
13. Stop being a victim. Your business and personal life was made by you. No one else is responsible. To make it better, make better choices. And new decisions. 
14. You can lead without a title. Don’t wait to get a position to stand for excellence, peak quality and overdelivery on every expectation. 
15. Find your own style. Be an original. Every superstar differentiated themselves from The Herd. And marched to their own drumbeat. 
16. Understand that when you play small with your success, you betray your potential. And the birthright you were born under. 
17. Eat less food and you’ll get more done. 
18. As you become more successful, stay really really hungry. Nothing fails like success. Because when you’re successful, it’s easy to stop outlearning+outOverDelivering+outthinking and outexecuting everyone around you. (Success is Beautiful. And dangerous). 
19. If you’re not overprepared, you’re underprepared. 
20. The only level of great manners to play at is “Exceedingly Polite”. In our world, this alone will make you a standout. And differentiate you in your marketplace. 
21. Remember that the moment you think you’re a Master, you lose your Mastery. And the minute you think you know everything, you know nothing.
22. To double your results, double your level of execution. 
23. Invest in your personal and professional development. All superstars do. 
24. Get this year’s best Targets of Opportunity down onto a 1 Page Plan. Then review it every morning while the rest of the world sleeps. 
25. You don’t get lucky. You create lucky. 
26. When you push through a difficult project, you don’t get to the other side. You reach The Next Level. 
27. Smile. And remember to inform your face. 
28. Spend time in solitude every day. Your best ideas live there. 
29. Debrief on how you lived out your day every night in a journal. This will not only record your personal history, it will make you uber-clear on what you’re doing right and what needs to be improved. 
30. If you’re not being criticized a lot, you’re not doing very much. Ridicule is the price of ambition. 
31. Develop a monomaniacal focus on just a few things. 
32. The secret to productivity is simplicity. To get the results very few people have, be strong enough to do what very few people are willing to do. 
33. Rest. Recover. It’ll make you stronger. 
34. Buy a smaller TV and build a larger library. 
35. Remember that the bigger the goal, the stronger a person you must become to achieve that goal. So goal-achieving is a superb practice for character-building. Food fuels your body. Learning feeds your mind. 
36. Don’t ask for respect. Earn it. Finish what you start. And always end strong. 
37. Breathe. 
38. In business, don’t play to survive. Play to win. 
39. Protect your good name. It’s your best asset. Remember that words have power. 
40. Use the language of leadership versus the vocabulary of a victim. 
41. Give more than you take. The marketplace rewards generosity. 
42. Know that if it’s not messy, you’re not making progress. 
43. Be a hero to a kid. 
44. In business, aim for iconic. 
45. Go for legendary. 
46. Make history by how awesome you are at what you do. 
47. Please don’t confuse activity with productivity. Many many people are simply busy being busy. 
48. Your doubts are liars. Your fears are traitors. Stop buying the goods they are attempting to sell you. 
49. The best anti-aging remedy in the world is working really hard. 
50. World-Class performers have no plan B. Failure just isn’t an option. 
51. You have the power to change the world–one brave act and one person at a time.

Lesson From Soccer

I am not a soccer fan though I have picked something to learn from the player-teamwork exhibited throughout every match. I have read on various awards won by different players such including goalkeepers but have not read about celebrations with their team players and opponents (awards). Music is another area which can be used as a point of reference as well product manufacturing companies. These are a few point of reference that resembles high level of teamwork needed which I believe celebrations should done considering other players.

I have to admit that I have no idea on how they embrace their success. I, however, wonder if the award winners remember their fellow players when they spend the money (when the award is in the form of money). I understand though that the goal celebration as well the overall match win is mutually celebrated. Examples of activities involving teamwork includes goal scoring in soccer match. Sometimes, more than five players would be directly linked to a goal for instance yet only the goal scorer receives much praise forgetting that one could not have achieved it individually.

Secondly, some instances are common when a goalkeeper wins an award. Do they appreciate their opponents for making them strong? I am of the opinion that such a person would have not to forget the efforts exerted by the opponent as the award would not have been achieved without the troubling efforts by opponents (other soccer team).

LESSON 1: We should, at times acknowledge and celebrate our success with concerned individuals in other words, those who contributes meaningfully towards it.

LESSON 2: We become champions as a result of the challenges which come along our way. Therefore, we should be glad to experience challenges; they help us to become sharper as well prepares us for the worst unfortunate incidents. Our abilities are sometimes correlated to our experiences – challenges, in this context are a blessing in disguise. Someone once said, “I consume challenges as my breakfast’.

Past does measure future?

Past is not equals to future

Many times, we as human beings are tempted to use statistics to make or project future performance. This is not only common in the society but even at tertiary institutions as well. This is why we see courses such as economics, sociology, and data analysis software to mention a few that are being studied and developed to improve an understanding of where we are heading towards basing on what we experienced in the past. This should be challenged in some cases despite that this, to some extent, lead to useful outcomes.

This came into my mind after being invited to join the Golden Key International Honours Society which is a prestigious society to be a member of. A brief description of their selection criteria: ONLY top performing graduates i.e. top 15% are selected from participating institution across the globe are invited to join the elite members. This was after graduating with a Cum Laude in Diploma in Entrepreneurship (2012) at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), South Africa. As a natural analytically individual, a few thoughts ran into my mind with most pressing one being a reflection of my academic performance in the past. Golden Key is an internationally recognised honour society that is affiliated with universities in Australia, Canada, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Africa, the Bahamas and the United States. Each year 15% of the top university students from all disciplines are invited to join the society.

Making projections based on the past information has never worked for me. I have tried to apply this in my life and I have learnt that it does not apply. I will mention a few examples:

1)    Being born in a poor family would mean I would die poor;

2)    Being born in a non Christian family would mean I will die in as a non Christian;

3)    Being born as a below-average-student would mean I will die as a below-average-student.

There are many examples but I will stick only to these three.

I, however, acknowledge that there might be a fierce and lengthy discussion on this but I will ensure that I stick to my above points. Despite the three examples mentioned above, I am certain that I shall not die poor; I am a Christian and I am an above-average-student.

During the course of the year, I was reminded of the innovative skills which I had as primary kid – during my grade 1 in 1992, I took number 71 out of 111 and was tempted to play with numbers with two options (1) to swap numbers and become number 17 or (2) to rub off 1 and become number 7. Rubbing off a 7 was going to be seen as an obvious fowl play by my parents as there was no way I could get number 1 with all red %ages. I am sure I made use of option 1 which seems to justify my performance.

As I was studying for my Btech in Business Administration degree (BBA), there was a point when it seemed to be tough to keep on going as a group as groups needs wisdom to effectively manage. I was tempted to jokingly say ‘I will remove a “B” from BBA and replace it with an “M” to become a holder of an MBA’. This was interesting as it linked to what I once did 21 years back. Unfortunate that it can not be done the ‘primary-kid-style’.

After all this, I came to realise that despite whatever happened in the past, I am not defined in that particular context, I have an undefined outcome to be discovered.

S.M.A.R.T – Effective Time Management

The most valuable asset each and everyone have is time. It is quite interesting to note that we are all managers of our time. However, it is unfortunate that, at times, some outward forces instead manage a certain portion of our time. As a result, it would be ideal to loosely suggest that we mostly consent to all that happen to us.

Funny to say so to others although, but at times, we face the consequences of the decisions which we made in the past. Being great time managers will ensure we are content with life as it contributes to maximum performance on our daily activities.

This is how the above assumption is justified in my opinion: Let us consider using an example of a working individual. The life for a lecturer for instance who would have had a chance to choose between following an academic career or Accountancy career (not as an academic lecturer) earlier on as a teenager. Imaginations on how such a person’s time is influenced by outside forces such as duty requirements at a particular institution one could be working, different learners’ behaviours and many more are varied. Would not it be different if an option of accounting profession was followed? It’s obvious as an Accountant professional, such an individual spend most of the work’s time in front of a computer, recalling accounting principles and being quiet most of the time – hence we face the consequences of the decisions we would have made long back. It is acknowledged that the activities of the above mentioned jobs varies within different companies or institutions. The assumption in this article is that a lecturers main activities involves spending much time lecturing learners while an Accountant spending most of the time capturing financial data, processing it into appropriate financial statements and so on.

I always enjoy talking about the importance of time. I am sure I never forget to indicate that time is money in every article I write on time. From the above example, another assumption can be derived from different jobs held by different individuals. In essence, individuals value their time differently. A good question to pose is “how much do you value your one hour’s time?” An obvious example is to compare the value of one hour’s worth of time for Larry Page (Google Inc) founder and a primary kid student – there is a wide gap. The common measurement instrument is to ascertain the value of wealth an individual generates per hour or loosely saying as to an hour’s remuneration for those who are working.

I always wonder if people know the value of their time – for example – how you value spending five minutes with someone. We should take into consideration the small bits of our time. All the small bits of time should be considered as a 24-hour day is made up of 86 400 seconds.

The subject of time management takes me wild. Anyway, let me remain focused to the reason for writing this article – Effective Time Management.

Managing time is the most pressing issue among people as this is indicated by the way individuals postpone activities. I will share what I have learnt towards effective time management.

About two months back, I found myself experiencing more workload piling up each and every day that at one point it seemed beyond my capacity. The first thing I identified was the postponement of activities – yes I did this. I realised this after most of the tasks I scheduled on a particular week kept on piling. I had no option but to trace the origins of the cause. I noted that I was rescheduling unattained tasks and it worked as a weakness towards my entire plan for that week. This was a lesson to shun rescheduling of tasks; instead, there is a need to create additional time to finish up the planned tasks. However, this tends to be a challenge as some people makes unrealistic schedules e.g. scheduling to complete a task requiring 20 hrs of time to be done over a period of 10 hours. This on its own becomes a formula prompting reschedules.

On the other extreme, it is common to learn of people who do not plan at all. They just respond to circumstances as they befall upon them and they are comfortable with that – it is very dangerous, weird given the permission to use this word. Such a schedule should be termed as normal to kids not adults. In a business lingo, plans have to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time bound.

In essence, one should ensure goals are SMART or otherwise, it would be a nice formula towards ineffectiveness:

1. Opt to complete all the scheduled tasks by creating additional time instead of re-scheduling (rescheduling is as good as undocumented strategy leading to poor time management unless done with wisdom)

2. Know where time is frequently lost – this helps in finding a solution. If one does not know where the problem is, one is bound to waste time using a trial and error approach to come up with a solution.

3. Exercise S.M.A.R.T.ness in goal setting and in all that is done.

4. Have control measures to revise performance and make possible improvements.