Placements and degree performance: do placements lead to better marks, or do better students choose placements?

N.L. Driffield, C.S. Foster, H.E. Higson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputConference publication


There has been a strong move recently to make degrees more applicable to employment; including work placements as part of the programme is one way of achieving this. Such placements are advocated to increase employability, but also for improving academic performance. This paper examines the relationship between undertaking a work placement and the class of degree achieved. It challenges earlier findings that undertaking a placement increases degree results. Studying seven cohorts of students, a well tested approach was employed that allows for sample selection – i.e. whether better students do placements rather than whether placements produce better students. The paper concludes that the sample selection is much stronger, i.e. placement students do better because they are better students. The results highlight that it is not merely doing a placement that matters, but a successful placement adds significantly to subsequent performance. The paper concludes with advice to students and policy makers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationASET annual conference 2011
Subtitle of host publicationresearch papers from placement and employability professionals’ conference 2011
EditorsDebbie Siva-Jothy
Place of PublicationSheffield (UK)
Number of pages24
ISBN (Print)0-9564559-4-9, 978-0-9564559-4-9
Publication statusPublished - 7 Sept 2011
EventASET Annual Conference - Leeds, United Kingdom
Duration: 6 Sept 20118 Sept 2011


ConferenceASET Annual Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
OtherThe Placement and Employability Professionals’ Conference


  • employment
  • degree classification
  • non-traditional students
  • business education
  • student success


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