Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

Factors affecting the performance of students in undergraduate physics courses. Research report

Dale, M.G. and Jennings, P.J. (1985) Factors affecting the performance of students in undergraduate physics courses. Research report. School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Murdoch University, Murdoch, W.A..

PDF - Published Version
Download (770kB)


There is a considerable body of literature on factors which influence student performance in undergraduate science courses. For instance Reiner (1971) and Hudson and Mcintire (1977) both found that mathematical skills were a necessary but not sufficient indicator of success in both physics and chemistry. Liberman and Hudson (1979) found little correlation between cognitive level and performance in physics. Anderson and Berman (1982) made a four year analysis of tertiary admission examination (TAE) marks, school assessments and first year performance at the University of Western Australia, and found a significant correlation between school physics performance and university results. Logan and Bailey (1983) reported on 'Diagnostic Testing for success in tertiary Physics at the N.S.W. Institute of Technology and Edge and Friedberg (1984) considered a wide variety of academic and persona 1 factors affecting achievement in first courses in Calculus in an American college.

For several years a number of students with a relatively weak. Background have successfully attempted the first course in Physics at Murdoch Un1vers1ty, although there was an overall high failure rate of about 40%. During this time a number of different diagnostic tests were administered in an ad hoc way in attempts to provide appropriate counselling on enrolment, and assistance within the course. This paper analyses various tests and other indicators in an attempt to develop an instrument to identify academic factors which cause students to fail in first year undergraduate physics courses.

Item Type: Report
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences
Publisher: School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Murdoch University
Item Control Page Item Control Page


Downloads per month over past year