Selecting successful students
: a cohort survey of first year BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy students

  • Carolyn Hay

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Science by Research


Pre-registration healthcare courses face a challenge: recruiting high calibre applicants who demonstrate the potential to be fit for purpose, practice and professional award. This multifaceted objective has been the driver for much research in recent years. However, there is no consensus as to which factors assessed through the selection process provide predictive value to the academic outcome of the student.

The research question, ‘What are the assessed factors within the admissions process for a BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy pre-registration course, which predict the outcome of a student’s first year of studies?’, was developed. Analysis of the UCAS application routes of occupational therapy students offered a unique insight into an area which has been well researched.

Working within a positivist paradigm, this retrospective cohort study analysed the admissions application and interview data for one cohort of full-time students (n=148) enrolled in a BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy programme of study within a Midlands university. Data relating to the cohort’s interview and subsequent academic performance were analysed using SPSS and parametric tests.

There were four key findings: 1. A difference in the academic performance of students dependent on their UCAS route of application; 2. A difference in the age range of candidates dependent on their UCAS route of application; 3. A difference in the academic performance of students dependant on whether they fully met the academic entry requirements or not and; 4. A link between the grading of three components of the interview (discussion of media clip, practical group task and candidate’s writing style) and academic performance.

Synthesis of the findings allowed the following recommendations to be made: academic admissions tutors should consider lengthening the recruitment cycle to allow for ‘UCAS Late’ applicants who have, in this sample, a higher mean grade (n=60.99) than those via the ‘on-time UCAS (n=57.97%) or ‘UCAS Extra’ (55.69%) routes. Additionally, utilisation of a variety of tasks within the recruitment process allows consideration of the value of highly scored written assessments in determining whether to accept a student who has not fully achieved the minimum academic entry requirements of the programme.
Date of Award2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Coventry University
SupervisorRuth Heames (Supervisor), Ann Green (Supervisor) & Patricia Harding (Supervisor)


  • Prediction of scholastic success

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