Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Carmichael, CS, Dunn, PK & Taylor, JA 2006, 'Identifying at-risk students: is it possible in a tertiary preparation course for adults?', in P Grootenboer, R Zevenbergen, & M Chinnappan (eds), Proceedings of Identities, cultures and learning spaces: 29th Annual Conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (MERGA29), MERGA, Canberra, ACT, 1-5 July.


In the current educational climate in Australia, there is an imperative on university administrators to maintain student enrolments since funding is explicitly linked to student numbers. The most effective way of achieving this is to retain those students who have already enrolled. Consequently many universities currently seek to identify those students at risk of either failing a course or withdrawing from the university. In this paper we report on an initial study into the use of pre-entry measures to identify at-risk students in the context of a tertiary preparatory course offered entirely in the distance mode. We conclude that such measures are at best rough indicators of at-risk students and that results from such measures should be used in a non-directive manner only.