Academic Performance of Undergraduate Students and its Implications on Student Support for Young and Novice Learners
In spite of the limitations of using grade as a measure of performance, grade conveys significant meaning for measuring academic success (Puzziferro, 2008). The general abilities of the students are reflected on these indicators, particularly the GPA. An analysis of grade-point averages (GPAs) and grade distribution trends provide considerable information to help open distance and eLearning (ODeL) institutions determine what support mechanisms are appropriate to young and inexperienced novice students to enhance their learning experiences and help them succeed in open and distance elearning environment. This paper analyses the grade distribution trends and mean GPAs among undergraduate students a vis-ŗ-vis their age bracket, gender, employment statusand geographical locations in an ODeL institution in the Philippines. Final grade submissions from 2008-2013 were retrieved from the Office of the University Registrarís database. GPAs were computed by dividing the total number of grade points by the total number of units for enrolled learners from 2008-2013. It was assumed that the higher the GPA, the better the academic performance of the learners and have greater ability to cope with the demands of online learning. This paper also describes the current admissions requirements and existing student support services available to UPOU students. This study recognizes the fact that young and inexperienced learners may have different support needs compared to mature, more experienced graduate students.
Keywords- open and distance eLearning (ODeL), GPA, grade distribution, learner support, UP Open University.