ACSPRI Conferences, RC33 Eighth International Conference on Social Science Methodology

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Cross-national and crosscultural comparisons of students' readiness and expectations

Ellen Jansen, Stéfanie André, Cor Suhre

Building: Law Building
Room: Breakout 1 - Law Building, Room 024
Date: 2012-07-11 03:30 PM – 05:00 PM
Last modified: 2012-06-19


The first-year experience of students in higher education has been a theme in a lot of research. These investigations regard the first-year experience in itself, and the relation with study success or drop out (Jansen & Bruinsma, 2005; Keup & Stolzenberg, 2004; Krause, Hartley, James & McGinnis, 2005). From the extensive body of research on students’ opinions during or at the end of the first year in relation to attrition factors, we learned a lot of the reasons that lead students to the decision to leave the programme or institution. Yorke and Longden (2004) extracted four groups of reasons in the United Kingdom: unsatisfactory experience at university, poor choice of field of study, problems with coping with the university study demands, and more personal factors (family circumstances, financial problems et cetera).
Students’ expectations of university is an important factor in student withdrawal. For instance, Keup and Stolzenberg (2004) revealed that more than half of the students had difficulty to understand what the professors at university expected from them, to understand the demands and only one third of the students reported to be successful in developing effective study and time management skills.
Furthermore, we know there is a relation between perceived self-efficacy, motivation and performance (Bandura & Locke, 2003). Students’ self-perceived preparedness and their expectations fact their adjustment to the higher education environment (Byrne & Flood, 2005). Therefore it is very useful to know how well prepared students feel themselves before coming to university.
The perceived preparedness for university and students’ expectations is measured with a questionnaire that has been developed in a cross-national research collaboration (Jansen & van der Meer, 2007; van der Meer and Jansen 2008) between the Netherlands and New-Zealand, the readiness and expectations questionnaire (REQ). In the Netherlands the REQ is also used in international degree programmes in Economics and Business.
In this paper we will address the question whether it is possible to make valid comparisons across the two countries and within the international degree programmes across four distinguished cultural groups: Dutch, European, Asian and other students. With Multi Group Confirmatory Factor Analysis we will assess the measurement equivalence of the REQ-scales. When we measure the same construct across cultural groups we can conclude on cross-national and intercultural differences