Teaching and Learning Report: pass rates improving

01 August 2005

Overall pass rates for crucial first-year courses have improved steadily over the past four years, while postgraduate enrolments continue to see strong growth at UCT.

These are among the findings of the 2004 Teaching and Learning Report compiled by the Department of Institutional Planning.

At the postgraduate level, the 2000 - 2004 period saw substantial growth in honours enrolments (up 46%), master's enrolments (up 15%) and doctoral enrolments (up 33%). Master's plus doctoral enrolments together made up 17% of the 2004 head count enrolment, the report found.

It also noted that overall success rates in courses at the crucial 100-level improved by four percentage points between 2000 and 2004. The overall success rates in level 200 and level 300 courses improved only slightly (by one percentage point in each case) between 2000 and 2004, reaching levels of 84% and 90% success, respectively.

Commenting on the report's value, Professor Martin Hall, deputy vice-chancellor, said: "Teaching and learning is at the heart of the university's mission, and the Teaching and Learning Report helps us to keep in touch with what is happening across the full breadth of UCT's curriculum.

"With six faculties and well over 3 000 individual courses, monitoring overall quality is a tall order. The Teaching and Learning Report helps us to do this through a set of key indicators that serve as the pulse of the university's laboratories, lecture theatres and seminar rooms."

The report also found that:

  • Student enrolments at UCT grew at a rate of 4.9% per annum between 2000 and 2004.

  • Postgraduate enrolments (including those at the postgraduate diploma, postgraduate bachelors and honours level) made up 29% of the total enrolment in 2004.

  • UCT's 2004 proportional head count enrolment in the faculties of engineering and the built environment, health sciences and science made up 40% of the total enrolment.

  • The 2004 new undergraduate applicant pool (12 802) was the largest seen in 11 years of admissions cycle analyses with 34% of all new undergraduate applicants having achieved notional A or B matric aggregates.

  • The 2004 overall proportion of black new undergraduate applicants to UCT dropped by one percentage point between 2000 and 2004, but the proportion of black first-choice offers increased by one percentage point to 59%.

  • The proportion of black postgraduate enrolments increased by three percentage points to a level of 44% over the same period.

  • A total of 5 151 students successfully completed a qualification in 2004.

  • Between 2000 and 2004, the overall graduate total grew by 28% while the institutional head count grew by 21%.

  • Master's and doctoral graduates together made up 15% of all graduates in 2004, but this group of graduates was predominantly (65%) white.

  • The proportion of all undergraduates either completing their degrees or passing successfully rose to 90% in the 2004 academic year. At the same time, the overall proportion of undergraduate students requiring faculty or Senate permission to re-register dropped to 6% in 2004, and the proportion excluded on academic grounds remained level at 4% of all undergraduates.

  • The overall proportion of "successful" white students (95%) remained markedly higher than that among African and coloured students (85% and 88%, respectively).

  • The 2004 overall permanent, full-time academic staff complement returned to the year 2000 level of 626 staff, after a slight increase in 2001 to 633 and a 2.7% drop in 2002 to 616.

Six review units participated in the 2004 round of internal academic reviews, as mandated by the quality assurance policy document, approved by Senate and Council at the end of 2001. These were the Department of Environmental and Geographical Science, the School of Economics, the Division of Occupational Therapy, the architecture and planning component of the School of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics, the Centre for Information Literacy and the Department of Political Studies.

* For the full report, please go to www.ipd.uct.ac.za. Go to Institutional Info Unit. The report is the last item under Internal Reporting on the drop-down menu


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