Otago Polytechnic is pleased with its course completion
rates overall, but has warned staff running its
worst-performing programmes pass rates need to improve or their
courses will be dropped.
Polytechnic quality director Sue Thompson said the
institution was "very pleased" with overall course completion
rates, which had improved from 73.19% in 2009 to 80.08% last
Success rates for Maori students had improved by 14.7% in the
same period to 70.65% last year, and rates for Pacific
students had increased by 18.9%.
She said the polytechnic was also happy with the pass rates
of most of its individual courses, but had warned the
worst-performing courses those not tracking towards 40% or
more completion rates by September 30, 2012, risked being
The worst-performing course in terms of pass rates in 2011
was the certificate in computing level one, followed by the
national certificate in business.
Ms Thompson said the completion rate for the certificate in
computing level one was affected by the fact it was delivered
at the Otago Regional Correctional Facility in Milton and,
for that reason, the polytechnic believed it had a social
obligation to continue offering it.
She said the courses with less than 50% completion rates -
which made up 1.8% of total equivalent full-time students at
the polytechnic - were under "targeted management for
The warning that poorly performing courses could be closed
comes after the Tertiary Education Commission signalled it
would be "looking seriously" at dropping funding for
individual courses which had less than 40% completion rates,
The polytechnic was not alone in having to improve courses
with low pass rates, and the problem was "widespread" across
the tertiary sector, with the possible exception of
She said the polytechnic's overall pass rates compared well
with other tertiary institutions.
Another area in which the polytechnic saw room for
improvement was in the number of students who finished
qualifications in the prescribed amount of time; for example,
finishing a three-year degree in three years. Overall, the
number completing qualifications in the prescribed time had
declined from 55.53% in 2010 to 53.67% last year.
Courses with pass rates below 40% in 2011:
• Certificate in computing level 1 ... 13.11%
• National certificate in business ... 17.13%
• National certificate in computing level 2 ... 29.03%
• National certificate in motor industry (auto engineering)
• National certificate in computing level 3 ... 37.91%
• National certificate in horticulture (advanced) Dunedin
level 4 ... 38.67%
* No longer being offered