Factors Influencing Student Performance in the Introductory Management Science Course

By D'Souza, Kelwyn A.; Maheshwari, Sharad K. | Academy of Educational Leadership Journal, July 1, 2010 | Go to article overview

Factors Influencing Student Performance in the Introductory Management Science Course


D'Souza, Kelwyn A., Maheshwari, Sharad K., Academy of Educational Leadership Journal


ABSTRACT

The introductory management science course is a core requirement for many undergraduate students majoring in business. In general, it is considered to be a challenging course having high withdrawal and failure rates. The purpose of this paper is to examine factors that influence the performance of students in the introductory management science course. To evaluate these factors, a study was conducted over a two-year period covering around 300 students from business and other majors at Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia. Several independent variables related to student demographics, course structure, instructional methods, student motivation and effort, student aptitude and application, and student preparation were considered. Nine of these variables showed some significant relationship with the performance. Furthermore, a multiple regression model was constructed using stepwise method. Four independent variables were included in the final regression model: current class grade point average, average homework score, course utilization ratio, and completion of pre-calculus prerequisite. The final multiple-regression model explained around 51% of the variation. The results emanating from this paper could assist in redesigning and delivery of management science course material.

INTRODUCTION

There is a growing concern about the poor performance of undergraduate students in the introductory management science course, which is a core requirement in most business degree programs and a prerequisite for advanced courses. At Hampton University, business students are required to earn a C grade or higher in this course (Quantitative Methods) to fulfill graduation requirements. The number of students not meeting this requirement in their first attempt is high, with approximately one-third of the students earning less than a C grade, thus having to repeat the course. This exerts a financial strain on the students, lowers overall GPA, delays graduation, and causes overcrowding of management science classes.

The main motivation behind this study is to establish the underlying causes of higher failure rate in this course. The literature review shows that statistical techniques are extensively applied to model student academic performance in several courses. A number of researchers used statistical models to study factors influencing performance in accounting, economics, and finance courses. However, there is a lack of application of similar statistical techniques to analyze performance in management science courses. A small number of recent studies have been reported which analyze students' performance in such courses. Furthermore, these studies do not necessarily agree on the reasons for poor performance. Grossman (2001) provided several reasons for poor performance ranging from student lack of preparation to ineffective course design. Brookshire and Palocsay (2005); Peters et. al. (2002); and Mukherjee (2000) have studied management science courses and arrived at somewhat different causes of poor performance. This indicates that further investigation may be necessary to understand the root causes of poor performance and recommend corrective measure to improve students' performance in the management science course.

This paper attempts to highlight a wide range of significant factors which could be responsible for the poor performance in the management science course (Quantitative Methods) offered by the Department of Management at Hampton University. The study was conducted over two academic years covering around 300 students in 10 sections taught by a single instructor using a standardized course syllabus and grading criteria. In order to protect the confidentiality of student, personal identities were not disclosed and the study was approved by the University's Institutional Review Board (IRB).

The study initially considered a wide range of independent variables that could possibly influence the performance. …

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