Student grades up post-quake

14 September 2011

New research by the University of Canterbury's Psychology department has shown that UC students' grade point average in semester one of 2011 was slightly improved compared to semester one in 2010.

New research by the University of Canterbury’s Psychology department has shown that UC students’ grade point average in semester one of 2011 was slightly improved compared to semester one in 2010.

“This is an encouraging result,” said Professor Simon Kemp. “While it is important to remember that some students may have been very negatively affected by the earthquakes in semester one, overall students performed well.”

Following the June earthquakes the University allowed all students to use the events as grounds for requesting aegrotat consideration of their semester one assessments. To allow for the consequences of this change in their research results, Professor Kemp’s team also employed a control mechanism of comparing results for psychology students who completed multiple choice tests in 2011 and 2010 and found very similar marks over the two years, even though many 2011 students also reported feeling anxious and stressed post-earthquake.

University of Canterbury Vice-Chancellor Dr Rod Carr said he was encouraged and reassured by the results.

“Individual departments have reported improved academic performance by our students post-earthquake. Our physics department, for example, reported that the average final exam mark in semester one for a class of nearly 600 predominantly intermediate engineering students was approximately 20 per cent higher than in previous years.*

"To see the results of Professor Kemp’s research demonstrate that UC students overall performed very well in semester one, however, is a testament to students’ resilience and the commitment and professionalism of staff to maintain the quality of teaching offered at UC.

“Commitment and resilience and now evidence of quality outcomes help make the case for support for the University as it first recovers and then makes its contribution to Canterbury and New Zealand in the coming years," said Dr Carr.

“This research clearly demonstrates that for the great majority of our students’ the learning outcomes that they are achieving at UC have not been negatively impacted as a result of the earthquakes. In fact, the academic performance of some of our students has improved.”

For more information please contact:
Jacquie Walters
Public Relations Consultant
University of Canterbury
Ph: 027 503 0168
jacquie.walters@canterbury.ac.nz

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