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Does point of entry matter to students’ experiences and success?

Advanced or direct entry students are typically given credit for previous study at another institution and permitted to enter directly to the second or third year of a programme of study at Cardiff University. These students may be drawn from domestic or overseas institutions. In our study we focus on the latter category: those who enter into the second or third year programme of study at CU from overseas.

While there are significant benefits to both students and CU from a successful direct entrant programme, joining a programme, particularly in its final year, can mean having to form new peer networks, adapt to linguistic and cultural differences, and negotiate different teaching and assessment methods precisely at a time when performance counts towards the final degree classification. It is this potential tension that prompted us to ask: ‘Does a student’s point of entry impact on his/her student experience, including academic success as measured by end of year summative assessments?’

To answer this question we explored the experiences of teaching, assessment and perceptions of academic success in international and home students overall, irrespective of the point of entry, by conducting a two-stage inquiry: firstly undertaking a retrospective statistical analysis of summative assessments scores, and secondly conducting an online student survey to explore their perceived learning experiences at targeted CU Schools. The results challenge assumptions about learning distinctions between home and international students. Small sample sizes preclude confidence in links between mode of entry and attainment, but results do suggest value in further exploration of data at School level.

Rachel Cahill O’Callaghan (CLAWS)
David Meenagh (CARBS)
Roseanne Russell (CLAWS)
Liba Sheeran (HCARE) sheeranl@cardiff.ac.uk