Peer group interaction, academic integration and persistence in a foundation programme at a university in the Western Cape
This research paper is based on an investigation of the factors that enabled final year students to persist in a four-year degree programme (Foundation Programme). This study is important given that students who generally enrol for this programme terminate their studies before completion. This is a qualitative study in which interviewing was employed to collect the data. The conceptual framework is underpinned by Tinto’s model of student persistence with specific focus on student involvement through peer group interaction in the formal structure of the classroom. It also hones in on informal engagement which goes beyond the nature of the classroom. It further explores the relevance of academic integration, which encompasses a student’s ability to become well-grounded intellectually in the sphere of the institution in order to respond in a critical and systematic way to its educational demands. In addition, it further interrogates how peer group interaction and academic integration impact students’ ability to persist with their studies. Thus, the findings confirm that relationships exist between peer group interaction, academic integration, and persistence.