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With the increasing academic expectations in the United Kingdom arising from the demands of the recently-introduced Diploma in Higher Education/ Registration course (Project 2000) and with fairly substantial proportions of both unqualified (DC test) and mature entrants being admitted onto the course, a study was carried out into the relationship between entry age, entry qualifications and academic performance on the common foundation programme, which lasts for the first 18 months of the course The entry data and common foundation programme results of each student from the first three intakes, 258 in total, were reviewed A different subject design was used for the study m which students were placed into one of four groups, according to entry age and entry qualifications, which were (a) 17-21 conventional entry requirements met, (b) 22 + conventional entry requirements met, (c) 17-21 unqualified (DC test entrant), and (d) 22 + unqualified (DC test entrant) Results indicated that the performance of most mature students, whether qualified or not, was above average, with the qualified group securing the best results of any of the four groups Among the 17-21 age group, while the qualified performed as expected, the unqualified performed the worst of any of the four groups, registering both a high discontinuation rate and low overall mean scores for the programme No improvement in the relative performance of the 17-21 unqualified group was noted over the three cohorts and there were indications that under-performance among the unqualified group extended beyond the 17-21 age range In terms of recruitment, results could indicate a need for a change m policy, with evidence of proven academic ability being required from all younger applicants If continued recruitment of unqualified younger students is planned, then a more vigorously targeted policy of academic support and guidance for these students will be required Without this, it seems likely that poor performance and high wastage among this group will continue