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An investigation of undergraduate-level academic performance mediators

Vikash Rowtho (Charles Telfair Institute, Moka, Mauritius) (Open University of Mauritius, Moka, Mauritius)

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education

ISSN: 2050-7003

Article publication date: 5 February 2018




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the mediating roles of absenteeism and continuous assessments on the overall academic performance at undergraduate level using structural equation modelling (SEM).


Pragmatic worldview with a mixed-method approach was used in this study. Data were collected using a variety of tools. Subsequent analyses used both qualitative and quantitative techniques. Interviews and documentary analyses were used to identify the dimensions of student disengagement while SEM was used to determine mediation among selected variables.


The results of this study showed that absence rates mediated the relationship between performance on continuous assessments and grade point average (GPA). Absence rates also mediated the relationship between personal circumstances and GPA and finally, course selection impacted on GPA with performance on continuous assessments as the mediator. H3 were not supported and the implications are discussed.

Research limitations/implications

The research was conducted in a single institution, was cross-sectional in nature and the variables used were contextualised. However, the tools used in this study can be adapted to identify the risk factors leading to poor student performance in other settings and to address them.

Practical implications

The outcomes of the current study can be useful to policymakers and practitioners in in addressing student performance-related issues.

Social implications

On a broader perspective, societal challenges associated with student dropouts resulting from poor academic performance can be minimised.


This study shows academic performance in a different perspective where mediators reveal the complex nature of the determinants of academic performance.



Rowtho, V. (2018), "An investigation of undergraduate-level academic performance mediators", Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, Vol. 10 No. 1, pp. 31-43.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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