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Journal of Information Systems Education

Abstract

An evaluation is made of the impact of work-based experience during a placement year on the academic achievement of Information Systems students. The importance of practice in generating competence and confidence in students on placement has been understood for a long time. However, there has been little evidence that placement makes an important contribution to the primary indicator of achievement at degree level - the degree grade. In this paper we report on a longitudinal study on the relationship between placement and student achievement. Overall, 497 students from three Information Systems study programmes were included in the analysis, two thirds of which had completed a placement. Analysis through parallel lines ordinal logistic regression showed a substantially greater probability of graduating with a first class honours or second class (upper division) for students completing a placement against those who chose not to go on placement. In the large, highly competitive, modern graduate recruitment market, degree grade and recognised employability characteristics may prove vital for graduates pursuing IS careers. Knowledge gained by graduates locally while on placement, combined with transferable skills and a widely recognised, highly valued, certificated degree may give graduates and their employers' critical advantages in the local and global market. Placement student and graduate knowledge is situated in communities of professional practice in IS which may have social consequences in forming a firmer foundation for the intellectual life of a region.

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