Foreign students on par with Australians

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 October, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 October, 2005, 12:00am

Foreign students enrolled in Australian universities perform as well as their local counterparts, a new study has found.

The researchers investigated the performance of 340,000 Australian and international full-time students at 22 universities.

In a report of the study, Alan Olsen, Dr Zena Burgess and Dr Raj Sharma say the findings are important because of claims that universities are dropping standards to favour foreign students.

The Sydney Morning Herald in June claimed to have found evidence of falling standards at universities.

The newspaper said international students with poor English were being awarded degrees so they could be accepted for permanent residency but the latest study found very little difference in the success rates.

The study results will be released next week at an international conference hosted by IDP Education Australia on the Queensland Gold Coast.

The report says that while there was no overall marked difference, students from overseas did better in science, IT, engineering, agriculture, education and arts.

Australians were better in architecture, health and business while in creative arts, both groups had the same outcome.

The report notes that a clear gender difference showed up, with female students in both groups passing nearly 92 per cent of units attempted while the males passed 86.5 per cent.

It says the 35,000 international females beat the 39,000 international males while the 150,000 Australian females outperformed the 115,500 Australian males.

The report has been published online by the International Education Association of Australia at