Relevance of prior academic qualifications to predicting the academic achievement of undergraduate students: An analysis of Law enrollees at Makerere University
Students who have excelled academically in the past are regarded as having a greater chance of performing successfully in subsequent examinations. However, this argument is being questioned with regard to enrollees onto the Bachelor of Laws at the School of Law of Makerere University in Uganda. This study sought to obtain an understanding of this issue using administrative data of 568 Bachelor’s of Law graduates of Makerere University during the period 2010-2012. A combined weighted score for the enrollees granted on admission to the program and their Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) on graduation were adopted as measures of their prior academic qualifications and academic achievement, respectively. An assessment of the enrollees’ academic achievement is made using summary statistics. The bearing of prior academic qualifications on the academic achievement was investigated using a robust regression, controlling for student’s characteristics, gender, nationality, and year of enrollment. A median CGPA of 3.16 in the results points to a “lower second” class degree obtained by a considerable number of graduates in the program. In the multivariate assessment, high scores on entry to the program were significantly associated with high academic achievement (p < 0.01). These findings confirm enrollees’ prior academic qualifications as: 1) a predictor of academic achievement on the program and 2) thus, an indisputable measure for assessing the competence of candidates suitable for admission to the program.