Understanding the pre-matriculation factors that influence academic success facilitates the recruitment and retention of students who are more likely to graduate on time.
Objective: To determine the factors associated with the academic performance of students enrolled in the physical therapy diploma programme.
Methods: Records of 250 students enrolled over a twenty-year period at the School of Physical Therapy were reviewed. Data were collected and organized using a data collection sheet. Data were analysed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). Relationships between the independent variables: age, gender, marital status, work history and entry qualifications, and the dependent variables: academic performance (percentage of subjects passed at the first sitting of examinations and success in the Final Qualifying Examination), withdrawal and delayed graduation were examined using correlation coefficient, t-test, ANOVA and chi-square as appropriate.
Results: Results revealed that students gaining the minimum entry qualifications at one sitting of GCE O’ Level/CXC examinations (p < 0.01) and who had GCE A’ Level passes (p < 0.05) were less likely to withdraw from the programme. Students without prior work experience performed better during the course of study (p < 0.05) but the older and married students were more likely to withdraw (p < 0.01). Older students performed better on the Final Qualifying Practical and Theory Examinations taken at the end of the academic programme (p < 0.05) but had a lower percentage of subjects passed at the first sitting of course examinations (p < 0.05).
Conclusion: Students with better academic preparation demonstrated better academic performance. These findings were consistent with prior studies in the field.