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Benchmarking the habits and behaviours of successful students: A case study of academic-business collaboration

  • Elizabeth Archer University of South Africa
  • Yuraisha Bianca Chetty University of South Africa
  • Paul Prinsloo University of South Africa
Keywords: distance education, student success, academic-business collaboration, habits and behaviours, benchmarking


Student success and retention is a primary goal of higher education institutions across the world. The cost of student failure and dropout in higher education is multifaceted including, amongst other things, the loss of revenue, prestige, and stakeholder trust for both institutions and students. Interventions to address this are complex and varied. While the dominant thrust has been to investigate academic and non-academic risk factors thus applying a “risk” lens, equal attention should be given to exploring the characteristics of successful students which expands the focus to include “requirements for success”.

Based on a socio-critical model for understanding of student success and retention, the University of South Africa (Unisa) initiated a pilot project to benchmark successful students’ habits and behaviours using a tool employed in business settings, namely Shadowmatch®.

The original focus was on finding a theoretically valid measured for habits and behaviours to examine the critical aspect of student agency in the social critical model. Although this was not the focus of the pilot, concerns regarding using a commercial tool in an academic setting overshadowed the process. This paper provides insights into how academic-business collaboration could allow an institution to be more dynamic and flexible in supporting its student population.

Author Biographies

Elizabeth Archer, University of South Africa

Specialist: Institutional Research, Department of Institutional Statistics and Analysis

Yuraisha Bianca Chetty, University of South Africa

Director: Institutional Research, Department of Institutional Statistics and Analysis

Paul Prinsloo, University of South Africa
Department of Tuition and Facilitation of Learning
How to Cite
Archer, E., Chetty, Y. B., & Prinsloo, P. (2014). Benchmarking the habits and behaviours of successful students: A case study of academic-business collaboration. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 15(1).
Research Articles