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Falling Pass Rate in Australian Universities

Table of Content
1.Introduction2
2.Reasons of Falling Pass Rate3
2.1 Lower entry requirement3
2.2 Progressive Assessment3
2.3 Larger Classes4
3.Recommendations5
3.1 Enhance the Enter Requirements5
3.2 Improve the Progressive Assessment5
3.3 Peer Support System6
4.Conclusion7
Reference8
Appendix9

1. Introduction
Tertiary education plays an important role in Australia's economy. Nowadays, evidence reveals that a falling pass rate has occurred in Acme University for the past few years. Such situation should trigger the attention of both educators and students, especially the first year students. It is widely accepted that gap between high school and tertiary education is inevitable. Eliminating such a gap and achieving an acceptable learning performance are what new students are in pursuit of. The main objective of this report is to identify the potential causes of such phenomenon and provide reasonable recommendations to increase the pass rate.

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2. Reasons of Falling Pass Rate
2.1 Lower entry requirement
The first potential reason of the falling pass rate could be the lower entry requirement. In the result of K. Wimshurst and T. Allard, it indicates that university enter score contributes more to the fail grades, comparing to other factors such as gender, living at home or deferring student fees, especially in the first-year university. Besides, foreign students with poor English skills are not able to complete their courses, due to the lower international benchmarks in English language. On the other hand, universities like Melbourne, Monash, La Trobe and so on, are offering up to 20 points score discount if a student is willing to pay full fees. Since 2006, the full-fee paid students with five or more marks lower than the equivalent HECS students, were able to enrol more than 80 undergraduate degrees (Herald Sun, 2006). The trend is found still continuing and reinforced in the recent years. Therefore, quite a few international students and rich kids are getting easier to enter into universities, with much lower enter point. In addition, statistics shows that the number of international students enrolled in the higher education sector has increased with a growth of 7.6% from 2009. With a larger amount of international students, who are allowed to get easier rides into Australian university with a lower enter score and relatively poor English skills, the pass rate is supposed to fall down gradually. 2.2 Progressive Assessment

Progressive assessment education system is another important factor that causes such a situation with falling pass rate in universities. The main characteristics of progressive assessment include assessments across the semester contribute increasingly more weigh to the total score instead of focusing on the final examination; multiple choice questions (MCQs) are exclusively used in the mid-term test; learning diaries are in use. The shortcomings of MCQ tests are obvious such as they can not reflect the writing skills, test students' critical abilities, and indicate their capacity to assess knowledge learned. In Alauddin 2010, it suggests that multiple choices (MCQ) are used more frequently in mid-semester tests, causing significantly reduced scores in the final exam. It is confirmed that on average students would lose 13.7 scores in the final exam if they have done MCQ-based-mid-term assessments in comparison with students who have not done those assessments. When the progressive assessments exceed 50% of total score, it would lead a student losing a further 18.1 marks in the final test. In other words, students who obtain a pass grade at the assessments through the semester would be more likely to fail in the final exam. These findings significantly provide a support to the view that assessment methods play an important role on affecting the students' performance...
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