Science - January 15, 2004

Pass rates lower for master’s students from outside Wageningen

Students with a BSc from a college of higher education or a foreign university have a lower pass rate for certain subjects than third and fourth year students who came to Wageningen University straight from a Dutch high school.

Geert Muggen keeps track of the statistics and quality concerning education. In a recent report he examined the pass rates for students with a Dutch high school background, those coming from Dutch colleges of higher education, and international students with a BSc from elsewhere. He compares the results for fifteen courses, each of which had at least ten students from each of the different backgrounds. On average, 75 percent of the Dutch high school graduates passed, 63 percent of the international students and 54 percent of those from Dutch colleges of higher education. Muggen describes these figures as ‘very significant’, although there are also large differences in the course levels. One course had a success rate of one hundred percent for all groups.

If you look at all courses given in the academic year 2002/2003, the pass rates are high over the whole range, and differences between the groups smaller. Of the Dutch high school graduates and the international students, 82 percent average a pass (voldoende); of the students from other colleges the average is 76 percent with a pass. According to Muggen there is little reason for outspoken statements about the entry level of the different groups of students.

Muggen also looked at the average score for final grades within the three groups. Dutch high school graduates scored an average of 7.79, those from Dutch colleges a 7.71 and international students 7.54. According to Muggen these differences are significant, but only minimally so.

Guido van Hofwegen