Impact of mathematics and physical science on the success of South African engineering technology students
International Journal of Engineering Education
Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa; Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Groningen, Pedagogical and Educational Sciences, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Netherlands; Department of Education Innovation, University of Pretoria, South Africa
The general conclusion arrived at in the literature is that the South African National Senior Certificate (NSC) is not a reliable predictor of academic success at traditional universities. By sharing research undertaken at a South African University of Technology (UoT) on the impact of individual cognitive factors and NSCresults on study success, this paper shows that this conclusion is not necessarily true for South African UoT Engineering students. To assess this impact and determine the readiness of students for UoT Engineering curricula, the relationship between pre-university academic factors and the success of engineering students was investigated. An ex post facto study was carried out on a sample of 416 students drawn from first-time-entering National Diploma engineering student cohorts of 2009 and 2010 to determine a possible correlation between their NSC results, additional pre-admission test results and the number of subjects passed after one year and four years of study, respectively. The findings indicated thatNSC Mathematics and Physical Science are statistically the most significant predictors of success in the first year. Despite the pre-admission tests used in this study not revealing significantly more about a student's potential than only the final NSC results, the conclusion reached by the researchers was that such tests might be useful when student application data is unreliable, i.e. when students apply with Grade 11 or interim Grade 12 results. © 2015 TEMPUS Publications.
Curricula; Education; Professional aspects; Students; Application data; Cognitive factors; Engineering curriculum; Engineering technology students; First year; National Senior Certificate; Physical science; Traditional universities; Engineering education