Admission Criteria as Predictors of Academic Performance of Law Students at Uganda Christian University
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This study investigated the predictive validity of admission criteria to the final academic performance of Bachelor of Laws students in Uganda Christian University (UCU). Its objectives were to: examine the relationship between students’ performance in Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE) examinations and their academic performance for award of the Bachelor of Laws degree at UCU; determine the relationship between the students’ performance in the pre-university Law entry examinations (PuLEE) and their academic performance for award of the Bachelor of Laws degree at UCU and establish the difference in the academic performance of males and females in the fourth year Law course examinations as predicted by their achievement in the UACE examinations and pre-university Law entrance examinations at UCU. A cross-sectional research design was used in the study. A response rate of 77.4% was achieved while using questionnaires and interviews. A documentary review checklist was also used. Purposive and random sampling techniques were employed. Thematic analysis of quantitative and qualitative data was done. Inferential correlation statistics was used to establish the extent to which admission criteria predict students’ academic performance in the Law course. A low and positive correlation of 0.048 (p=0.321), though not statistically significant at 0.5% level was established between UACE points and Year Four CGPA. A positive and significant but weak correlation of 0.331(p= 0.000) was established between PuLEE results and academic performance of Year Four Bachelor of Laws students. There was no statistically significant difference in the performance of males and females in the Bachelor of Laws course. The combined effect of UACE and PuLEE predicted up to 10.3% of the dependent variable. Based on these findings, the UACE achievement examinations may not be suitable for selection and placement of students to HEIs. Universities need to supplement UACE achievement examinations with tailor-made pre-university entry aptitude examinations in the admission of undergraduates. Such examinations should measure students’ analytical thinking, deductive reasoning, problem solving and other psycho-motor skills needed by students to perform better in their undergraduate studies. There is, however, need for a study to evaluate the content and criterion validity of pre-university entry examinations to establish their effectiveness as an admission criterion in Uganda’s HEIs.