Academic Performance: The Role of Cognitive Engagement among Student Nurses in a Jamaican Community College
Taylor-Smith, Cassia Yolanda
Stephenson-Wilson, Kayon G.
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Session presented on Saturday, July 25, 2015: Purpose: Evidence indicates that a positive relationship exists between cognitive engagement and academic performance. The transition of nursing education from hospital based training to universities and colleges in the Caribbean; require that nursing students engage at a higher cognitive level to secure academic success. Examination of the literature reveals gaps in understanding how cognitive engagement impact on the academic performance of nursing students internationally and nationally. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine if nursing students were cognitively engaged in the teaching-learning process, and the relationship that existed between their cognitive engagement and academic performance at a Rural Community College in Jamaica. Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive correlational design was employed. All students (BSN and Assistant Nursing (AN)) enrolled at a rural community college in Jamaica were included (n = 117). To collect demographic and cognitive engagement data, items from the NSSE 2013 The College Student Report and The Engagement in Academic Work tool were combined to form a 33-item Cognitive Engagement Survey. Respondents' grade point averages (GPA) were obtained from anonymized records. The relationships between cognitive engagement and GPA were examined using Spearman's rho, Tukey post-hoc test and ANOVA, assisted by SPSS version 20. Results: The response rate was 88% (n=103); 69 from the BSN years one to three and 34 from the AN group. Most respondents were 22 years and older (67%). Mean GPA was 2.49 +/- 0.518; 59.2% of respondents achieved GPAs between 2.00 and 2.99, 23.3% had GPA ? 3.00, while 17.5% failed (GPA ? 1.00). The majority BSN and Assistant Nursing students (80% & 62% respectively) reported surface cognitive processing. A statistically significant relationship existed between deep cognitive engagement and academic performance (F [ 2, 100 ] = 3.35, p = .039). Conclusion: Most students utilized surface levels of cognitive engagement regardless of programme type with little effect on pass rates; however, deep cognitive engagement influenced the quality of academic performance. The need for critical clinical reasoning in patient care requires that teaching methodologies be examined with a view to stimulating the use of deep cognitive engagement among nursing students.