African Students who Excel in South African Higher Education: Retro(Pro)Spectivity and Co-Regulation of Learning.
Samuel, Michael Anthony.
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In addition to being more likely to fail and dropout, African students are also less likely to succeed academically, let alone excel while doing so. In a critical move against a dominant deficit, failure, and drop-out discourse that surrounds African students in South African higher education, this paper reports on a study that explored exceptional academic achievement in African students. Specifically, using the data production strategies of auto-photography and photo-elicitation, eight academically exceptional undergraduate African students in a South African university explored the (academic) activities that were associated with their academically exceptional outcomes. Interpretative thematic analyses of the auto-photographical accounts highlighted not only how the participants excelled academically, but also who they were becoming in the process. Data from three of the eight participants is drawn upon in this paper to introduce the notion of retro(pro)spectivity, and to show how co-regulation of learning can be centralised when explaining an exceptional academic achievement trajectory for African students in South African higher education.