Factors affecting students’ academic achievement and experiences

Term Paper, 2017

18 Pages, Grade: A+

Free online reading


Teacher student relationship
Commuting to university
Job during studying

Literature review









High schools open a gate for students to enter the world of experiences known as higher education. Individuals who pursue their education see themselves achieving their future goals now. They select a particular field of education and then spend years in order to pursue their goals. Without students, university has no worth. Students are the most essential asset of any university. A country’s social and economic development is contingent on students’ performances and their attitude towards university which predicts the performance. There are a lot of personal, social, financial and environmental factors which affect these perceptions and attitude and ultimately affecting their academic performances.

As fancy as it may seem, university life, nonetheless brings about its own challenges. Some students may find a group of friends and some may find it hard to find a single friend. Some may find some subjects easy while others may be having opposite view. We see our world through our own lens and our experiences are shaped by what we perceive and how we interpret the messages from the experiences we encounter. Times Higher Education Supplement suggested in its report that in higher education level, every one in four students do not retain in university and in the case of low income students only 54% retain. (Marcus, 2004)

Provision of quality education and therefore subsequent performance of students of schools has become inevitable. Scientific education in a systematic fashion is provided to people around world in place known as university. This organized fashion of teaching and inculcating knowledge, manners and abilities help the learner learn various skills for his life in long term, but not every individual achieve the same. There are some factors on which achievements of an individual depend. University life helps individuals to grow financially and become able to deal with social, political and cultural issues they encounter. (McCabe, 2000)

For better institutional decision making and to assure quality structures, bringing students voice is very necessary. For this purpose, students’ expectations and perception of their higher education system is very important to know. It should also be noted that state also hold every student (without racial or economic or social background discrimination) to equally high expectation of their achievement. (Weiner, 2000)

Teacher student relationship

The teacher-student relationship builds a foundation of success for a student in any given class. There has been a wide variety of research done in kindergarten, primary schools and secondary schools which acknowledges the significance of such relationship and its effect (Yamashiro and Noam, 2013) (Roorda, Koomen, Spilt and Oort, 2011)

And the student teacher relationship does not end at this thing only rather it also entails how teacher is delivering his course to the students, how affective he is and how much gets to inspire students around him. An affectionate tutor is always been liked. Similarly, understanding students’ perspective is also very important. Not every individual is same. Every person has his own motivation and inclination towards a subject or a teacher and it has an effect on their academic achievement in short as well as long term. The more a tutor understands the differences the more he addresses their diverse needs and thus helping them. (Felder and Brent, 2005)

Similarly, supporting in assignments, timely corrective feedback, encouragement and face to face short visits have helped students and they consider it as an important mileage to their achievement when they know they are being guided in proper direction and timely.


Though sleep doesn’t directly relate to university experiences but it is a major role player in academic performance. It is been our common observation that mostly students do not keep sleep as a priority. It is the key to restoring our energy just as food and exercise. Little sleep increases our risk to decreased concentration, attention and even memory deterioration. It also decreases the strength of brain to retain new information. For long term memory, deep sleep is a necessity as learning occurs during our REM cycle of phase of sleep.

Majority of students (almost 50%) students say that they don’t get sufficient sleep time (Lack, 2010). Knowledge about sleep hygiene is very scarce in students and it leads to their sleep practices which effect study and grades in long term (Brown, Buboltz Jr., and Soper, 2010).

Commuting to university

According to Higher Education Statistics Agency, 297, 870 students commute to university. Commuting easily to university, whether by a walk, cycling or by transits makes it easier to reach university at time and save time thus positively affecting the grades. But the achievements can be affected in worst case scenarios when commuting is not easy. The more it takes time to commute to university, the more it becomes a hurdle to stay fresh and focus on studies every day.

Job during studying

Most students in their university time, to get hold of their expenses start doing part time or full time job. Center for Higher Education Research and Information (CHERI), (2009) reported that though the job and employment affect their study time, it affects mostly the non-academic aspects of their life for example socializing with their groups etc.

Similarly school resources are of important nature because it is sometimes because of these scarce resources that student go for jobs to fulfill their academic needs. (Burtless, 1996)

Though the students were overall showed an unsatisfactory perception towards university, yet majority of them were satisfied with their grades. It also highlights that no matter how the situation get on and no matter how much surroundings get uncomfortable, individual’s personal motivation and will is very important to success and achievement. Work on the administration side is also needed to ensure the experience of students at university be the best of all because these four years are shaping their views about world and their own selves and that highly depends on what they see and learn at university and through which ways, easy or difficult.

Literature review

It has been become a focus of study of different policymakers, researches and practitioners to see and found the experience of students in higher education. As the number of students enrolled in higher education is increasing globally, it has become necessary to understand how they experience higher education in different national, institutional and disciplinary settings. (Ashwin, Klemencic. 2016)

National Union of Students in 2008 conducted a broad survey in UK universities to find out overall experiences of students about university they study in. some of the results showed that many students were seeing university as a mean to an end, means they wanted something out of university (job, career), very few students (29%) reported that they wanted to experience university. Similarly, 31% chose the university they study because of the less travel distance from their home. 81% of students were well satisfied with the resources and facilities they were provided with for their course work and studies. Only 54% students were satisfied with the practical work facilities at the university whereas majority of the students responded with un-satisfaction. 75% students were employed as well as studying. Almost 46% of them were reliant. This definitely affects the achievement by hampering with their studying time. The survey conducted also analyzed that 74% students enjoyed going to their universities. The students who were not enjoying had their own reasons. One was level of teaching and the other was the costs of university. 86% were contended with their decision to go to university wherein 56% were very pleased. Some students (37%) said that if they are allocated more funds they would spend money on learning. (NUS Student Experience Report, 2008)

A study conducted by Wanyama (2013) in Kenya investigated school based factors which influence students’ performance at Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education in Narok North Districts. It was a descriptive survey research. Findings of the study revealed that the major school based factor which was influencing the performance of students were inadequate learning materials. Similarly some schools also identified lack of availability of adequate teachers.

Another study in Uganda by Nannyonjo in 2007 suggested that qualification, training of teacher, age and experience and duration in a school affected students’ performances along with supervision styles and administration style implied by principal of a school.

One study by Tinklin and Hall (1999) reported findings of disabled students’ experiences in higher education in Scotland. All higher education institutes were consulted for policies and regulations for disabled students and 12 in depth case studies were carried out in the research. The results showed that disabled students faced obstacles in 5 areas of their higher education life. The physical environment, access to information, entrance to higher education, assumption of normality and levels of awareness were the major 5 areas of those obstacles. In most cases, instead of removing obstacles, only assistance is provided to disabled students to pass through such obstacles. This research also acknowledged of the positive steps taken to improve the obstacles and improving access of disabled students.

University life gives an opportunity to learn the things we want to specialize in. So teaching and experience of students towards teacher become very necessary to be studied because it affects the way student learn and in turn affect their achievement and overall experience of the educational institute. A study found out that 73% of students were satisfied with the teaching methods used for their coursework. One in ten were not, whilst the others were not contented neither dissatisfied. The teaching methods were lectures (98%), seminars and tutorials (91%), essays (82%) and projects and dissertations (82%). (Casey, 1997)

One of the major experiences which students encounter is the social group they become a part of. 34 first year students were interviewed to analyze their social support in university. Findings suggested that making compatible friends actually lead to retention and a student’s living arrangement is central to this process. Such friendships provide emotional support as a family also buffering any stressful situation. Relationship with tutors were deemed importance but less significant in the study. (Wilcox, Winn, Gauld, 2005)

Another experience, which students come across their higher education, is research. A study in New Zealand, where 34 students studying in different levels of physics, geology and English, were interviewed and their understanding of education in university and experience of research was analyzed. It was revealed that students’ experience varied both in spatial and temporal ways across the disciplines depending how much knowledge they have conceived and explored. Some students find and early proximity to research while for some, it remains a remote phenomenon throughout their under graduation. (Robertson, Blackler, 2006)

A study by Karemera in 2003 found out that students’ performance highly depends on the facilities available at university such as computer labs, libraries and transport etc. and it affects their satisfaction level for university too. Similarly, Young in 1999 also suggested that students who avail the library of university achieve more academically then students who do not.

A study by National College Health Assessment II IN Saskatchewan University suggests that 25% students reported that their sleep deprivation has affected their performance negatively and 93% of the students responded that at least one day in a week, they feel tired and exhausted for whole day because of constant sleep deprivation or sleeping for less than 6 hours a day.

The finding of this study will have theoretical and practical implications. It will be helpful to teachers, educators and administrators in understanding views of students about university and factors that actually influence and shape their experiences and performance. In essence, it will helpful for administration to actually incorporate such facilities and opportunities for students which will change their attitude towards the university and in long term will affect their academic performances and satisfaction from the system they are enrolled in.


Positivist approach for survey was considered suitable so it was followed because it was objective way of gaining knowledge about the experience of students. As mentioned above survey method was used which comprised of 14 quantitative questions and 2 opinion based questions. Positivist approach of research shows a true essence of research that is to scientifically deduce hypotheses and observe or gain knowledge not by just observing but through proper statistical or mathematical calculations which reduced the chances of researchers’ bias towards attitude of respondents and results.

There were 16 questions in the questionnaire and the data was analyzed through SPSS. Two of the questions were opinion based so they were analyzed differently. Other 14 questions were analyzed through SPSS. Pie charts were used to describe the frequencies of students’ responses.


Questionnaires were developed to analyze the perception of students and their achievement in university. Data was collected from 40 students. There was no random selection of sample rather it was a convenient sampling method used for data collection.

No incentive was provided to the students to respond on the questionnaire.


Results are shown in the tables and pie charts below. Demographics are shown in the table whereas frequencies of respondents to questions are presented in pie charts.

Frequency Table

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There were 15 African American students, 6 Americans, 5 Asians, 3 mixed race and 11 others students were approached for this study. Total of 20 males and 20 females were approached for the research. Age range was divided into three groups of 18-21 years (24 students), 22-25 (9 students) and 28-31 (7 students).

Q1: Do you enjoy University?

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The responses came out to be 27% for Yes and 72% for No. one of the reason for not enjoying University was lack of social support.

Q2: what do you like the most about university?

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27% of students responded that they liked the teaching style most, 40% marked surroundings, 15% on resources while 17% liked other things about university.

Q3: what do you think could be seen as a barrier to succeeding?

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35% students thought that shortage of attendance was a barrier for success, 15% considered social influence as hindering their success, 40% deemed personal circumstances to be inevitable and 10% exclusion.

Q4: do you have any other commitments other than studying? Please tick the boxes that apply to you?

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60% students were employed, 15% had career and 25% were parents too along with studying.

Q5: how does it have an effect on you learning process?

It affects the motivational level for studying because of busy schedule of students

Q6: are there any good reliable facilities at University?

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30% of students responded that there were good reliable facilities at the university while the remaining 70% thought of no good reliable facility.

Q7: do you think there are enough resources that support you with your assignment?

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30% students responded with a positive answer while 70% responded with negative on this question.

Q8: do you have one to one sessions with your tutor?

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20% said they have one to one session with their tutors while 80% denied it.

Q9: is it easy to communicate tutors outside university?

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25% of the students considered it easy for them to communicate with their tutor outside the university while 75% denied it.

Q10: is commuting to university easy?

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52.5% students considered it easy to commute to university while 47.5% appeared to have difficulty.

Q11: how long does it take you to get to university?

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25% students reported there travelling hours less than half an hour, 17% said it was 1 hour while 57% said they take almost 2 or more hours to reach university.

Q12: how many hours of sleep you get?

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65% students said they have 6 hours of sleep, 17.5% said 8 hours and 17.5% 10 hours.

Q13: do you think bullying occurs in higher education?

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20% students said bullying does occur in university while 80% denied it.

Q14: do you feel safe within university?

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67.5% students said they feel safe within university while 32.5% said they do not feel safe.

15: what could be improved to help refine your experiences in university?

The answer to this question was found out that students need more assistance in assignment projects.

Q16: Have you been reaching your expected grades?

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

67.5% students were satisfied with their grades and expectations while 45 % were not satisfied.

Reliability of the test:

An analysis of reliability was carried out on SPSS on the questionnaire but as the data is from small population, reliability analysis could not be carried out.


As evident by the results, majority of the population covered in data was females and most of them were African Americans. The results displayed above shows that students are not actually satisfied with the university facilities available to them. They find it hard to have support for their assignments and also most of them responded that they find it difficult to communicate with their tutors once they are out of the university premises. Almost every student in the data was either employed or were parents to children which made it difficult for them to concentrate on their studies. It is important to note because this also hampers their achievement in many areas of study life. Knowing the conditions, university administration should take some steps to accommodate such students for their ease. Studying alone is a hectic and time consuming area of life, adding other responsibilities like marriage, parenting, or job makes it double effort for them. Not only this shows the commitment of today’s generation to studies, it also gives us an opportunity to pay heed to these matters in university.

Students were not satisfied with their meeting outside university with their tutors. Reasons can be many but as research shows, students’ success depends highly on their interaction with their teachers. (Joosten, 2012). Student teacher interaction can happen in any form, online, in-person, in or out of office hours, small group meetings etc. course lectures, where tenure is comparatively long, these interactions are of important nature. Teachers make their students able to face and question their own struggles, take responsibility of their intellect and hard work and to strengthen their connection with teacher. Teacher sometimes act like a window to outer world. Some teachers, for convenience, even assign short visits of students to office in their course, thus enabling them to have a chance to make their connection strong with their tutors by “breaking the ice”. This also gives teacher an opportunity to grasp their way of teaching from the eyes of others. Conversations outside the classroom sometimes prove to be enriched personally as well as professionally, but it depends on how much time efficient it is, otherwise it can be time consuming. It serves as a platform for both students and teachers for extended interaction and productive processes in a classroom and definitely learning of a student. (Pingree, 2000).though interaction is very much important but there is an interesting fact about students in UK that they are less dependent on their tutors as compared to their counterpart in other European universities students, and they also are more likely to engage in learning facilities apart from their major courses more than their European counterparts (CHERI, 2009) .


- More in person sessions with tutors should be arranged for students as to help them personally and in academics too.
- Availability of resources to do practical work and financially supporting students would enable them to channelize their energies into the work they have basically enrolled in.
- Socializing event will help out students in meeting with new people and ways to work with people and this will also motivate them to engage in university based activities more.
- As mentioned in the results, commuting to university for majority of students took more than 2 hours which definitely affected their study schedule and makes it difficult to focus on studies, availability of transport system or enhancing the current transport system can be recommended.
- Similarly, offering residency to students on minimal costs will benefit not only students in their cost management but also time management.


Following are the limitations to this study;

- The sample size was small so the results are not generalizable to major population.
- Researcher was not able to control the attitudes of respondents which may cause biasness to the results.
- The data was not as robust so no recommendations can be properly made on the basis of this small data.


Ashwin, P. & Klemencic, M. (2016). Understanding Students’ Experiences of Higher Education. Bloomsbury.

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Brennan, J. Patel, K., and Tang, W. (2009). Diversity in the student learning experience and time devoted to study: a comparative analysis of the UK and European evidence. Report to HEFCE by Centre for Higher Education Research and Information, The Open University

Brown, F., Bulbotz, W., Soper, W. (2010). Relationship of Sleep Hygiene Awareness, Sleep Hygiene Practices, and Sleep Quality in University Students. Behavioral Medicines. 28(1), 33-38

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Davis, B.G. (2009). Tools for Teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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Factors affecting students’ academic achievement and experiences
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Sarah Iman (Author), 2017, Factors affecting students’ academic achievement and experiences, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/364659


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