Students with low entry scores succeed at university


University of Southern Queensland low entry score, first year Business students were more likely to pass MGT1000: Organisational Behaviour and Management than any other Bachelor of Business core course during the period 2003-2005. In this paper two of the academics teaching this course identify the two key teaching strategies that they contend contributed most to these results.

The first of these strategies (scaffolding) was used to teach students strategies that they can use - for example, to analyse a case study or construct an argument within an essay. The teaching team speculate that scaffolding facilitated the students' transition into the university as an academic milieu and thus enhanced their prospects for academic success in the course. The second teaching strategy presented in the paper involved the creation of the academic as a supportive social presence within the course (even for students studying at a distance) through the adoption of a particular, conversational kind of 'voice' in text based materials. The team assert that this facilitated students' transition into the university as a social milieu and facilitated their subsequent retention and success within the course.

Papers of this type have an increasing significance as the acceptance of students with low entry scores into university seems likely to continue. Universities need to create learning contexts which accommodate these students, without diluting academic standards. The paper is intended more as food for thought for other practitioners than as a simple recipe for teaching success.


Bernadette Lynch
Faculty of Business, University of Southern Queensland, Australia

Shalene Werth
Employment Relations, School of Marketing and Management, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, QLD


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low entry score; teaching strategies; higher education; academic success


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