The Australian Centre for Student Equity and Success acknowledges Indigenous peoples as the Traditional Owners of the lands on which our campuses are situated. With a history spanning 60,000 years as the original educators, Indigenous peoples hold a unique place in Australia. We recognise the importance of their knowledge and culture, and reflect the principles of participation, equity, and cultural respect in our work. We pay our respects to Elders past, present, and future, and consider it an honour to learn from our Indigenous colleagues, partners, and friends.

You are reading: First semester academic performance: The importance of early indicators of non-engagement

Jacques van der Meer, Stephen Scott and Keryn Pratt (University of Otago, New Zealand).

Published in Student Success Special Issue: Student Engagement and Retention in Higher Education.


Success, progression and retention of students are goals of many university strategic directions and policies. For many decades it has been recognised that the greatest focus in any retention strategy should be on first-year students. University of Otago too has goals around student success. The Strategic Plan of the institution also identified that in the context of a fiscally constrained environment, all of our activities and processes need to be assessed for efficiency and effectiveness.  To this end, a pilot was undertaken in one area of the university to identify possible indicators of first-year students’ non-engagement in the first semester and their possible impact on the first semester academic performance. The findings suggest that there are indeed some indicators that predict Grade Point Average at the end of the first semester.

Read the full article here.

View more open access national and international journal articles.

Featured publications
A case study documenting the transition of one Indigenous student, Robbie, from an underprivileged school located in the Western suburbs of Sydney to an urban Australian university.
The Critical Interventions Framework Part 3 (CIF 3) focuses on evaluative studies which provide details of the impacts of specific interventions on equity groups in relation to access to and success in higher education.