There is strong evidence that year-long work placements make students more employable and produces better academic performance. Despite this, UK participation rates remain stubbornly low. The authors examine the influence of academic performance on students' willingness and ability to complete work placements.
This study’s novel conceptual framework distinguishes students by their intentions regarding work placements indicated at enrolment as well as whether they completed a work placement. The authors use a sample of 226 business and economics students, employing propensity score weighted multiple regression to analyse the influence of academic performance.
The results indicate that academic performance has a significant influence on the decision to include a work placement option at enrolment. For those students who do pursue work placements, first-year academic performance had a significantly positive impact on their ability to secure a placement job. Finally, completion of a work placement was beneficial to final year academic performance.
Work placements are beneficial. Since low academic performance deters students from pursuing such opportunities, universities may need to communicate the benefits better to encourage greater interest. Further, universities need to realistically manage the expectations of students with low academic performance who want to do work placements and provide targeted support during the application process. Furthermore, alternatives to work placements should be provided.
This research adds to the literature investigating the influence of academic performance through academic self-concept on students' investment decisions to include a work placement in their degree study and in students' ability to secure a work placement.
The authors would like to thank participants at the 2021 Association of Business Schools' Learning, Teaching and Student Experience conference for helpful comments. The authors are also grateful to the editor and reviewers from this journal for their insightful suggestions that helped us improve the paper.
McCann, M. and Hewitt, M. (2023), "Academic performance and work placements: does academic performance influence the decision to complete a work placement?", Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, Vol. 13 No. 1, pp. 97-112. https://doi.org/10.1108/HESWBL-11-2021-0224
Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited