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International Journal of Mathematics and

Computer Applications Research (IJMCAR)


ISSN(P): 2249-6955; ISSN(E): 2249-8060
Vol. 5, Issue 1, Feb 2015, 43-50
TJPRC Pvt. Ltd.

OPTIMIZATION OF STUDENTS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN A WORLD-CLASS


UNIVERSITY USING OPERATIONAL RESEARCH TECHNIQUE
M. C. AGARANA1 & A. I. EHIGBOCHIE2
1

Department of Mathematics, Covenant University, Ota Ogun State, Nigeria


2

Department of Computer Science, College of Science and Technology,


Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria

ABSTRACT
Studies carried out by researchers and University ranking agencies, using different methods, including step-wise
multiple regression model, show that the following factors influence the academic performance of students in a worldclass university: Students Entry Points, students/staff Ratio, Library Spending, Students Accommodation, Teaching
Assessment, Firsts, Research Rating, Value Added, Overseas Students, Employments, Emotion and More. In this paper we
offer another simple approach Linear Programming model, to analyzing and optimizing, the effects of these factors on
the academic performance of students in a world-class university. The resulting model was standardized and simplex
method was used with the aid of MAPLE14 to solve it. It was observed that some factors were significantly critical than
the others in maximizing students academic performance. In particular teaching assessment is a major factor in
maximizing the academic performance of students. Also students entry points are very crucial.

KEYWORDS: Word Class University, Linear Programming Model, simplex Method, Optimization, Operational
Research

1. INTRODUCTION
Students Academic performance is the outcome of education- the extent to which a student, teacher or institution
has achieved their educational goals. This is commonly measured by examinations or continuous assessment. It is observed
that the key for success in a globalized world increasingly lies in how effectively a country can assimilate available
knowledge and build comparative advantages in areas with higher growth prospects and how it can use technology to
address the most pressing environmental challenges Error! Reference source not found.[2].
Students are the most valuable assets of a world-class university, and the quality of such universities is determined
by the academic performance of students in such institutions. Student's performance (academic achievement) plays an
important role in producing the best quality graduates who will become great leaders and manpower for the country thus
responsible for the countrys economic and social development Error! Reference source not found.[5]. World-class
university is an institution that has a high concentration of excellence, talent and modern infrastructure that is utilized with
vision and creativity to deliver excellent learning and research in order to make a significant contribution to the worlds
knowledge, health, wealth and well-beingError! Reference source not found.[2].

Academic performance is used broadly to describe different factors that may influence success of students in a
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M. C. Agarana & A. I. Ehigbochie

world class university, this is relevant to individual, community and national needs that characterize dynamic economies
and healthy societies as universities have a major role of endowing students with high-level skill Error! Reference source
not found.[4]. The productivity of such universities is evident in a globally competitive economy by developing skilled
and flexible work-force for technological and intellectual leadership, and satisfying the needs of the society Error!
Reference source not found.[1]. Students performance in world-class universities has received lots of interest. Some of
the performance indicators of such universities include: Students Entry Points, students/staff Ratio, Library Spending,
Students Accommodation, Teaching Assessment, Firsts, Research Rating, Value Added, Overseas Students,
Employments, Emotion, Citation, industry income and more (world ranking,2014).
Optimization is the selection of a best element (with regard to some criteria) from some set of available
alternatives. Maximizing students academic performance in a world class university is a critical tools to improve students
achievement. Strategies within schools include flexible scheduling, additional tutoring, and smaller classes to ensure more
individualized attention. Under the right conditions, extended academic learning time has a positive impact on student
achievement in schools that serve low-performing students. Regardless of this, there has always been a tendency in making
a direct correlation between a students academic achievement and intelligence level. Whilst this may be true, but such
assumption could be plainly too simplistic as there are other contributing factors which could significantly influence a
students academic performance Error! Reference source not found.[6].
Operational research applies different approaches to solving different types of problems which includes: linear
programming, dynamic programming, critical path method and more. This paper used one of the approaches-Linear
programming, a branch of Mathematics that deals with solving optimization problems. It consists of linear function to be
minimized or maximized subject to certain constraints. Among its significance are that its a widely applicable problemsolving model and ranked among the most scientific advances of the 20th century. It has been applied in areas like
management, economics, operations research, computer science, and more; based on its proven results we used this
operational research approach to come up with an optimal solution subject to some assumptions.

2. PROBLEM FORMULATION
2.1 Decision Variables
Let
X1 represent the percentage effect of entry points on students academic performance.
X2 represent the percentage effect of the size of the class on the students academic performance.
X3 represent the percentage effect of the library usage on the students academic performance.
X4 represent the percentage effect of teaching quality on the students academic performance.
X5 represent the percentage effect of teaching assessment on the students academic performance.
X6 represent the percentage effect of Research rating on the students academic performance.
X7 represent the percentage effect of value added on the students academic performance.
X8 represent the percentage effect of Overseas Students on the students academic performance.
X9 represent the percentage effect of employment on the students academic performance.
Impact Factor (JCC): 4.2949

Index Copernicus Value (ICV): 3.0

Optimization of Students Academic Performance in a World-Class


University Using Operational Research Technique

45

X10 represent the percentage effect of emotional disposition on the students academic performance.
2.1.1 Contributions
The outcome of the questionnaire administered show the following contributions
Let C1 represent average contribution of entry points to X1 = 5.9
C2 represent average contribution of size of class to X2 = 6
C3 represent average contribution of Library Usage to X3 = 5
C4 represent average contribution of teaching quality to X4 = 7.4
C5 represent average contribution of teaching assessment to X5 = 6.8
C6 represent average contribution of Research Rating to X6 = 5.9
C7 represent average contribution of value added to X7 = 7.9
C8 represent average contribution of Overseas Students to X8 = 2.9
C9 represent average contribution of employment to X9 = 6.6
C10 represent average contribution of teaching quality to X10 = 4.2
2.2 Objective
To Maximize 5.9X1 + 6X2 + 5X3 + 7.4X4 + 6.8X5 + 5.9X6 + 7.9X7 + 2.9X8 + 6.6X9 + 4.2X10
2.3 Constraints
In other to formulate the constraints as functions of the decision variables, we look at the resources that are in
short supply and what requirements must be met. For a university to be ranked as a world-class university, the following
ranking criteria and weights, informed by previous works, are assumed for the purpose of this paper:
The overall effect of the entry 12.5%
The overall effect of the class size 10%
The overall effect of the Library usage 12.5%
The overall effect of employment upon graduation 10%
The overall effect of teaching quality 20%
The overall effect of Research Rating 15%
The overall effect of value added 10%
The overall effect of overseas Students 5%
The overall effect of emotional disposition 5%
In addition to the above constraints, addition of all percentage of the effect of all factors considered must be
100%. Also equipping the library to enhance good library usage, improving teaching quality by providing modern teaching

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M. C. Agarana & A. I. Ehigbochie

materials and turning out good research works can be achieved by faculty motivation and good research environment. So it
is assumed that these three factors should not be less than 70% of the total budget of the university. None of the factors
percentage contribution to the students academic performance should be less than zero (non-negativity constraint).

3. THE MODEL
Maximize Z = 5.9X1 + 6X2 + 5X3 + 7.4X4 + 6.8X5 + 5.9X6 + 7.9X4 + 2.9X8 + 6.6X9 + 4.2X10
Subject to:
X1 12.5
X2 10
X3 12.5
X4 10
X5 20
X6 15
X7 10
X8 5
X9 2
X10 3
Y1=X3 + X5 + X6 70
Y2=(X5 + X5) (X3 + X7) 10
Y3=X6 (X2+X7+X5) 20
Y4=X1+X2+X3+X4+X5++X10100
X1, X2, , X10 0

3. MODEL SOLUTION
3.1 Model Standardization
Maximize Z = 5.9X1 + 6X2 + 5X3 + 7.4X4 + 6.8X5 + 5.9X6 + 7.9X7 + 2.9X8 + 6.6X9 + 4.2X10
X1 + S1 12.5
X2 + S210
X3 + S3 12.5
X4 + P110
X5 P220
X6 P315

Impact Factor (JCC): 4.2949

Index Copernicus Value (ICV): 3.0

Optimization of Students Academic Performance in a World-Class


University Using Operational Research Technique

47

X7- P410
X8 + S45
X P52
X10 + S53
Y1=X3 + X5 + X6 + S670
Y2=(X5 + X5) (X3 + X7) P6 10
Y3=X6 X2+X7+X5-P7 20
Y4=X1+X2+X3+X4+X5++X10 S7100
X1, X2,, X10, S1, S2,, S7, P1, P2,, P5 0
Putting the above standardised model in a tabular form we have the initial tableau, where initial feasible solution
can be obtained. This solution is not the optimal solution. In order to obtain the optimal solution, we implored the simplex
method of solution through the aid of a computer software Excel solver
Initial Tableau
Table 1

4. RESULT DISCUSSIONS
The optimization yielded a result showing the values of the decision variables, (X1) - (X10), thus the measure of
performance. The percentage effect of the factors affecting students academic performance in a world class university are
as follows: Entry point (X1)=12.5, Size of class (X2)=10, Library usage(X3)=12.5, Employment(X4)=10, Teaching
quality(X5)=20, Research rating (X6)=12.5, Value added (X7)=10, Overseas Students (X8)=5, Employment (X9)=2,
Emotional Disposition (X10)=3. From the results, in order to maximize students academic performance

in a world class

university, teaching assessment has the highest value, followed by the entry points of the students, library usage and
research works. The least influential factor among the ten factors considered, is employment. However, going by the result,
all the factors considered have some effect on maximizing students academic performance. The overall performance is
718.7. This coincides with what we obtain when we substitute the values of the decision variables X1, X2, X3, , X10,
into the objective function. Therefore the optimum academic performance of a student in a world class university under the
given assumptions and constraints is 718.7 according to our result.

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M. C. Agarana & A. I. Ehigbochie

5. CONCLUSIONS
This work deals with optimization of students academic performance in a world class university. A Mathematical
modelling approach was adopted and simplex method of solution was used to solve the resulting model with the aid of
Excel solver. The result obtained showed that in order to maximize the academic performance of a student in a world class
university, the teaching quality of the instructors, the entry points of the students, the size of the class, library usage,
teaching assessment, research rating, value added, overseas students, employment and emotional disposition of the students
play very important roles. In particular teaching assessment should be taking seriously. Also, Students with low entry
points should not be admitted into the university, library usage should be encouraged, and research works should be of high
quality.

APPENDICES
Table 2

Table 3

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Impact Factor (JCC): 4.2949

Index Copernicus Value (ICV): 3.0

Optimization of Students Academic Performance in a World-Class


University Using Operational Research Technique

49

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