Investigating factors that impact the success of students in a Higher Education classroom: a case study

  • Eunice Nyamupangedengu Eunice Nyamupangedengu School of Education Marang Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education University of the Witwatersrand
Keywords: Student success


South African Higher Education Institutions (SAHEIs) were rocked by student protests in 2015 and 2016. While the main issue that sparked the protests was unaffordable fee hikes which were negatively impacting equitable access to HE, the protests also brought to the fore, other issues impacting students’ success such as lack of transformation and the manner in which universities deliver their curricula which does not cater for the now diverse student body. The main educational challenge is not the diversity of the student body but rather the failure by institutions and individuals to tailor the standard teaching and learning processes to the realities of the great majority of the current student body. This was the motivation for this study in which I sought to investigate factors that impact students’ success in my classroom. Data was collected from students in the form of students’ responses to an open-ended question at the beginning of a course and to semi-structured group interviews at the end of the course. Students’ responses were analysed using various bodies of literature as a lens. The factors that are likely to impact the success of the diverse student body in a Higher Education classroom were identified and discussed and recommendations were made.
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