Comparative achievement of HEFA and FPOS undergraduate students: An Australian case study
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Recent years have seen a growth of international student numbers, representing 20.3 per cent of the total Australian university student population in 2003. This paper reports on an Australian case study that explored the comparative achievement of Fee Paying Overseas Students (FPOS) and Higher Education Funding Allocation Students (HEFA) in a range of undergraduate programs. In designing the study, the research team made the distinction between FPOS students HEFA students, recognising, though excluding from consideration, the diverse language and cultural backgrounds of HEFA students. In the first stage of the work, assessment data for the two groups of students across a broad range of programs for 1999-2001 were investigated. Emerging from this work was what we took to be a provisional finding: that international students, taken collectively, appeared to be under-represented in the grades of High Distinction and Distinction and over-represented in the lower grades. Further analysis was undertaken to test the durability of this finding when international students were grouped by nationality. A markedly different picture of comparative achievement of HEFA and FPOS undergraduate students then emerged, the analysis pointing to a possible link between nationality and academic outcomes. The study provides a foundation for further investigating HEFA and FPOS students' assessment experiences and outcomes in relation to efforts at internationalising the curriculum at Australian higher education institutions.
Reimagining Practice: Researching change
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