What impact has the COVID pandemic had upon student performance and satisfaction across the health professions?

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic has raised significant challenges for the higher education sector in Australia. Teaching modalities traditionally delivered face-to-face were required to pivot to deliver the same content online. The impact of this rapid transition on student learning outcomes, performance and perception of teaching was uncertain. Aim: The aim was to assess the impact of COVID-19 related adjustment in terms of student academic performance and satisfaction in the undergraduate health professions education environment. Methods: Data from 32 health professions units/subjects, implemented in both in 2019 and 2020 were included for analysis. Aggregate data were generated on unit characteristics including demographic profile, completion, average student performance and student evaluation of the teaching unit (SETU) score. Multivariable linear regression models were fit to assess the predictor of student’s grades and SETUs. Results: International student enrolment was slightly higher in 2020 (17.9%) than 2019 (15.5%). Retention of enrolment was significantly lower in 2020 (80.7%), in comparison to 2019 (87.1%). In 2019, international and final-year students discontinued less, whilst in 2020 male and first-year students had a greater discontinuation rate. On average student marks were 5.0% (95%CI: 4.7-6.3) higher in 2020. On average, students of a unit were more likely to perform poorly if the majority of students in the unit were female (p<0.001), or international students (p=0.01). SETU scores were slightly lower in 2020, but not significant statistically different to SETU scores in 2019 (3.97 vs 4.02, p=0.631). Discussion: Transitioning teaching modes did not negatively impact upon student satisfaction with unit delivery. Conversely, the transition of teaching modes positively impacted upon domestic student grades, whilst international and first-year students were negatively impacted. Conclusions: Further investigation is required to understand the impact of potential confounders including; changes to assessment, student learning environment and impact of social isolation, particularly with international students.


ConferenceAustralian & New Zealand Association for Health Professional Educators Conference 2021
Abbreviated titleANZAHPE 2021
Cityvirtual conference
OtherANZAHPE Festival 2021
Theme: Moving forward in ambiguity
Internet address

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