Example Education Essay

Example Education Essay
The factors that influence the achievement of a 1st class degree can be split into two categories; those that can be controlled by the individual in question and those that cannot. Those that can be controlled relate almost entirely to the individual, where as those that do not relate to both the individual (for example the interest in learning that they acquired due to their parents involvement) and the individuals external environment.
In either case, in this study, these factors are subject to the following assumptions; that the individual achieved the required grades to attend the university that he/she is at, that a 1st class degree is based on individual performance rather than a weighting amongst peers, and that there are no extraordinary factors or mitigating circumstances that might affect attainment.

Controllable factors based on the student at the start point of the course, centre around the students ability/determination to learn. The largest controllable factor must be the amount of study that the student undertakes. A 1st class degree requires a student to perform above expectation and in general this would mean studying more effectively for longer. If the student is able to study for longer, then they should achieve a better grade, and given that the amount of time dedicating to study is essentially up to the student within a certain limit, this factor may be controllable. Distance to the library etc and other factors that affect the amount of study performed may also be down to the individual student.

The quality of study is also a controllable factor. The more effective a student is during this study time, the more likely they are to achieve a 1st class degree. This could be controlled by reducing the negative impact of external factors on studying. For example, getting more sleep so the student is alert, or having the correct surroundings for studying (i.e. reducing noise levels). Though the student social life may be detrimental to this, it is controllable by the student, and it is the student who may make a choice between spending time socialising over studying.

The correct education and choice of course is a controllable factor in attaining a 1st class degree. A student who has chosen to study a course that they find easier and that they are more capable at may achieve this grade. Whereas the choice to study a ‘harder’ degree where their core competencies do not lie, may be detrimental.
Essentially, the controllable factors come down to the student’s determination to succeed. A more determined student may forgo the temptations of a social life, may study harder, spend less time on other activities, and focus more on their studies. The controllable factor is essentially one of will power and may be determined by the individual’s willingness to succeed, and the perceived reward of attaining a 1st class degree.

Uncontrollable factors relate to the student, and their external environment (the University). The uncontrollable factors relating to the student are around genetics and natural preference. The genetics of the students are uncontrollable; they may naturally be less intelligent and incapable of a 1st class degree. They may not have the intelligence to perform, or the natural drive to attain a 1st class degree. They may also simply be happy with another class degree.

Regarding natural preference, it is known that people learn in different ways, and that different methods suit different people. It may be the case that a student’s preferred learning method is in contrast to the method taught at the university or the choice of course. A lecturer teaching in a particularly oral manner is an uncontrollable factor for a student whose naturally preferred learning method is through visualisation.

The quality of Lecturers is an uncontrollable factor for the student. Though they may have chosen the university they attended, they may have little influence over the lecturers they have. A poor lecturer may result in a lower quality of learning for the student.

The standard of the University is important, but in particular, the standard of the university compared to the standard of the student. An average student may be much more capable of attaining a 1st class degree at a lower level university than at a top university. As such, the student has no control over the standards set by the university.

The quality and interpretation of marking and communication is another uncontrollable factor. A tutor with many papers to mark may miss key points made by students, misread, or aggregate marks. As such the quality and accuracy of marking is uncontrollable, but could equally affect the student in either direction unless there is a preference for the marker towards an average (of which a 1st class grade is of course not).

Finally, there is an uncontrollable element of luck: each student may only have time in the course to study certain elements, and the questions that come up in exams may suit the topics they are better at, or worse at. They may pick a dissertation topic that they later find out is particularly tricky.

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