First-year students’ expectations and perceptions of readiness before they start university

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Enhancing Higher Education, Theory and Scholarship Vol. 30

July, 2007, 651 pages
Published by
Geoffrey Crisp & Margaret Hicks
0 908557 72 8

Universities in many parts of the world are interested in improving student retention and completion. Factors that impact and contribute to retention and completion are multi- dimensional and complex. There is relatively little research of students' expectations and self-perceived readiness before they come to university. To address this paucity of research, a collaborative project between two universities across two hemispheres has been set up to develop an instrument to gain insight into students' expectations of university studies and self-perceived readiness before they start their university studies. Two researchers from the University of Groningen (The Netherlands) and the University of Otago (New Zealand) developed an initial version of a Readiness and Expectations Questionnaire (REQ). The development of this instrument will be carried out over a number of years. A first version was administered in Groningen in July-September 2006, a second version at Otago in February 2007. This paper will report on the initial findings of the Groningen survey. Statistical analysis yielded a number of scales with moderate to good reliability. The initial results suggest that the REQ adequately measures expectancies and perceived readiness. For example, we found significant differences between the groups of students with different levels of preparedness (on four out of the six expectations scales, and on six of the seven readiness scales). The results were subsequently partially matched with the first-semester academic results of the respondents. This suggested that the REQ scales may have some predictive power.

Keywords: transition, expectations, preparedness 

First-year students’ expectations and perceptions of readiness before they start university

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Jansen, E. & van der Meer, J.