Factors affecting the academic performance of low-and high-performing dental students: evidence from Japan
This study classified participants into low- and high-performing student groups according to their grade point average (GPA) and explored the characteristics of each student group’s profile, which comprised five domains: basic demographic characteristics, life habits, study habits, perceived academic competence, and career selection. An online cross-sectional survey was conducted with 147 dental students in Japan. Data were collected via an online questionnaire survey. The survey measured the five domain variables mentioned above and GPA as an indicator of academic performance. Chi-square and independent t-tests were performed to identify variables associated with academic performance. The chi-square test showed that the high-performing student group included more women (p < 0.01). They did not stay out late (zero times per week) (p < 0.05) and tended to study in advance instead of cramming (p < 0.01). The independent t-test results showed that high-performing students had more sleep deficits (p < 0.01), greater interest in studying (p ≤ 0.001), higher academic self-efficacy (p < 0.05), higher academic achievement goals (p < 0.001). They evaluated themselves more positively for academic grades (p < 0.001) than low-performing students. This study emphasizes students’ emotions related to interest in studying or academic self-efficacy. As an academic intervention for at-risk students, dental educators should affirm that students can succeed, even related to small achievements, instead of advising them on their poor performance. This strategy will promote a positive attitude toward studying.
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