Instructional Science

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 241–256 | Cite as

Factors affecting bioscience students’ academic achievement

  • Henna RytkönenEmail author
  • Anna Parpala
  • Sari Lindblom-Ylänne
  • Viivi Virtanen
  • Liisa Postareff


The examination of academic progression has become an essential tool for measuring the effectiveness of educational systems. Research concerning the relationship between student learning and how they progress in their studies, however remains scarce. The aim of this study is two-fold: Firstly, the study aims to analyse first-year bioscience students’ perceptions of their teaching–learning environment and their approaches to learning as well as the relationship of these to academic achievement as measured by students’ progression in studies and how they succeed. Secondly, the present study explores factors students feel either enhance or impede their studying as well as the relationship of those factors with their approaches to learning and academic achievement. The data consist of responses from 188 first-year students who began their studies in the fall 2007 and 2008. The data were collected in a Finnish context with a modified and shortened version of the Experiences in Teaching and Learning Questionnaire (ETLQ). The analyses were carried out using factor analysis, one-way ANOVA and structural equation modeling. According to the results, organised studying was related to both academic progression and study success. In addition, academic progression was positively related to peer support. Furthermore, most of the students found that problems in time management impeded their studies and that pre-set schedules enhanced them. Results indicate that social support and self-regulation skills are important for academic achievement.


Approaches to learning Teaching–learning environment Academic achievement Academic progression Higher education 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henna Rytkönen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anna Parpala
    • 1
  • Sari Lindblom-Ylänne
    • 1
  • Viivi Virtanen
    • 2
  • Liisa Postareff
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Behavioural SciencesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Faculty of Biological and Environmental SciencesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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