Sunday, June 2, 2024

Misunderstanding What Success Is

Dr Anish Purkayastha,
Purkayastha and Huber investigated what makes undergraduate management students successful at an Australian university (paper 2023, & article 2024).  They found students of tutors with a PhD, older students and those with higher previous grades do better. However, I am not sure I agree with the author's assertion that higher grades are a measure of "success".

The authors found that domestic students of tutors with a PhD were more likely to receive a Distinction grade. However, a high grade does not assist a student in meeting the minimum required to get their degree, and is a waste of effort for the typical student.

This effect, where a PhD graduate tends to help a few students get higher grades, whereas tutors who have been trained to teach tend to help struggling students pass, has been found in previous studies.


Purkayastha, A., & Huber, E. (2023). What factors contribute to higher grades in a first-year undergraduate management unit: an exploratory study at an Australian university. Higher Education Research & Development43(3), 735–752.

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