Students’ perceptions of the academic environment and approaches to studying in British postgraduate business education

Sun, Haoda and Richardson, John T. E. (2016). Students’ perceptions of the academic environment and approaches to studying in British postgraduate business education. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 41(3) pp. 384–399.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2015.1017755

Abstract

Recent research on student learning in higher education has identified clear associations between variations in students’ perceptions of the academic environment and variations in their study behaviour. This study investigated a general theoretical model linking students’ demographic characteristics, perceptions and study behaviour with measures of outcome, and in particular, compared three accounts of the causal relationship between perceptions and study behaviour. Data were obtained from 469 postgraduate students at six British business schools. Path analysis was used to assess the causal relationships among the students’ age and gender, their scores on the Course Experience Questionnaire, their scores on the Revised Approaches to Studying Inventory and their ratings of general satisfaction with their programmes. This yielded evidence for the causal efficacy of most of the paths identified in the general theoretical model. In particular, as in the case of students taking more traditional academic subjects, there exists a bidirectional causal relationship between variations in students’ perceptions of the academic environment and variations in their study behaviour.

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