Secondary School Mathematics and Science Matters: Predicting Academic Success for Secondary Students Transitioning into University Allied Health and Science Courses


  • Ryan Anderton The University of Notre dame Australia
  • Gregory Hine The University of Notre Dame Australia
  • Christopher Joyce The University of Notre Dame Australia


The literature strongly indicates that secondary school performance is highly predictive of university performance. Moreover, scholars have identified that successful performance in university mathematics and science courses depends on the level of mathematics studied in secondary school. This paper investigated the extent to which particular mathematics and science courses (e.g. Stage 2; intermediate and Stage 3; advanced) completed at secondary school affected the Grade Point Average (GPA) of 521 first-year Health Science, Physiotherapy and Nursing students within an Australian university. Based upon a statistical analysis of student performance (secondary Australian Tertiary Admissions Ranking (ATAR) score & first-year university GPA), the authors used a general linear model to investigate which secondary science and mathematics courses were associated with higher first-year university GPA. The key findings of this quantitative research project were that: the level of secondary mathematics studied, studying physical science courses at secondary school, and the completion of both advanced level mathematics and science courses were all associated with higher first-year university GPA.






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