Interactions among students’ prior learning, aspiration, confidence and university entrance score as determinants of academic success

Gerard Michael Rayner, Theodoros Papakonstantinou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


We studied the effect grade aspiration, confidence in achieving that grade, prior learning and university entrance ranking had on first year biology students’ final grade. We hypothesised that (1) students with higher aspiration will achieve higher grades than those with lower aspiration; (2) students with prior biology learning will have a higher grade aspiration and a higher confidence of achieving that aspiration than those without such learning; (3) university entrance rank will impact students’ final grade; and (4) students with prior biology learning will achieve a higher final grade than those without such study. We found that Hypotheses 3 and 4 were supported, Hypothesis 2 was partially supported, and that Hypothesis 1 was unsupported. If these results reflect broader patterns - that undergraduate student grade aspiration is not a predictor of their subsequent final grade - then targeted information and curricula scaffolding must be provided to better align student aspirations with their actual academic achievement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalStudent Success
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sept 2017


  • Critical thinking
  • Prior learning
  • Aspiration
  • Confidence
  • Academic success

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