Tijdschrift voor Hoger Onderwijs vol:29 issue:1 pages:5-19
The Flemish government encourages Flemish institutes of higher education with the help of the 'Aanmoedigingsfonds' (stimulus fund) to monitor students at entrance level and in the course of their studies. Special attention is paid to features of diversity and specific minority groups. In the article we present the results of a study on determinants of academic achievement in the first year of the bachelor programmes of an institute of higher education in Brussels. We focus on origin and home language as possible predictors of academic achievement. Both factors are strongly interwoven. Therefore we propose a student typology on the basis of both. The combination of origin and home language accounts for 13% of the exam results. When we include more variables in a stepwise multiple regression, we arrive at a model that explains 27% of the exam results. Next to type of education (vocational versus academic), we kept seven predictors in the model. Sex, origin, home language and family income all have a unique predictive value with respect to academic achievement. Also features that relate to educational background matter in this respect. In the discussion we pay attention to the different ways in which the factors origin and home language can be studied. We also argue in favour of complementary qualitative research.