Developing a Model for Identifying Students at Risk of Failure in a First Year Accounting Unit

  •  Malcolm Smith    
  •  Len Therry    
  •  Jacqui Whale    


This paper reports on the process involved in attempting to build a predictive model capable of indentifying students at risk of failure in a first year accounting unit in an Australian university. Identifying attributes that contribute to students being at risk can lead to the development of appropriate intervention strategies and support services. In this study, regression analysis was used to model the impact of individual factors on grade performance based on a review of the literature and using data extracted from a university’s student information database for all students who completed a first year accounting unit in one semester. The overall findings were that while the explanatory power of the model was poor, a number of variables were found to have a significant impact on performance. These variables included: younger students, males, those enrolled in non-business majors, and those with English as a second language. Further research in this area is warranted with the overall aim of reducing student failure and subsequent student attrition as well as developing appropriate intervention strategies.

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