Tracking Student Progress in a Baccalaureate Nursing Program: Academic Indicators

Andrea L. Brennan, Doanna G. Best, Sandra P. Small


Identification of students "most likely to succeed" has long been a goal of educational institutions, from the perspective of both identifying valid and reliable admission criteria and decreasing attrition rates within a program. In this study, scholastic performance prior to admission to a baccalaureate nursing program was examined in relation to students' level of achievement in courses and their progression in the first two years of the program. Although their incoming averages indicated that both classes of students were at "low risk" for failure in university, only 60% of the 89 students in the two classes were progressing without interruption. Students who did well in high school tended to continue to do well in prerequisite university courses and later in nursing. Students who were behind in their class at the end of Year 1 or Year 2 in the nursing program had significantly lower mean averages on high school credits and on prerequisite university courses. These findings have implications for the admission and counselling of students and lead to the recommendation that similar studies across nursing programs and a prospective longitudinal study within the sampled program be carried out to validate and expand upon study findings.

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