Using the Team-Learning Model in a Managerial Accounting Class: An Experiment in Cooperative Learning
Lancaster, Kathryn A. S., Strand, Carolyn A., Issues in Accounting Education
ABSTRACT: This paper reports on an experiment at one university where the professor changed two lecture-based managerial accounting classes to cooperative learning classes based on the Team-Learning Model advanced by Michaelsen (1998). For the professor who would like to implement cooperative learning, we provide a description of our experience with the Team-Learning Model. In addition, we investigate academic performance and student perceptions regarding the cooperative learning format. Although we do not find academic performance or student attitudes to differ significantly between the two learning environments, we document additional insights on cooperative learning, which extend the literature regarding this pedagogical method in accounting education.
The purpose of our paper is twofold. First, we provide a description of our implementation of the Team-Learning Model to assist accounting educators who have not yet tried cooperative learning methods. Second, we extend the body of literature in accounting education as it relates to cooperative learning. The general education literature reports agreement on a number of positive aspects regarding cooperative learning (Ellis and Fouts 1997; Johnson et al. 1998). However, accounting education research has yet to observe such a consensus of opinion. Studies reported in accounting education journals identify an aspect of cooperative learning (for example, the use of team exams) and test that in isolation. Such a narrow focus could limit our understanding of this type of pedagogy. We believe student performance and attitudes should be examined in a more comprehensive cooperative learning environment in the context of accounting education.
To address these concerns, we describe how we implemented an environment of comprehensive cooperative learning, and then examine student academic performance and perceptions within this environment. The paper proceeds as follows. In the next two sections we present a brief history of cooperative learning and a review of appropriate accounting education studies in this area. Next, we describe the design of our cooperative learning environment. Subsequent sections include our method, model development, and results. We conclude by identifying limitations of our study and offering suggestions for future research.
SUMMARY OF COOPERATIVE LEARNING
Ellis and Fouts (1997) believe cooperative learning is one of the more important educational innovations of our time. David and Roger Johnson have collected over 300 studies that compare the relative effectiveness of cooperative, competitive, and individualistic learning on individual achievement in college and adult settings (Johnson et al. 1998). (1) Over 168 of these studies investigated academic achievement and found that cooperative learning promotes higher individual achievement compared to competitive approaches (effect size = 0.49) or individual efforts (effect size = 0.53).(2)
Ellis and Fouts (1997) identify five major models of cooperative learning, one of which is the Learning Together Model. This model is based on five key elements that the professor should include. First, each student must perceive that (s)he is linked with others such that the student cannot succeed unless the others do (positive interdependence). Second, there must be individual accountability so that each student has an incentive to learn. Third, students must promote one another's success by helping each other (team interaction). Fourth, the students must be taught the necessary social and small group skills, such as decision making and conflict management. Finally, student teams must engage in group processing where team members identify ways to improve their own and each other's learning processes.
The Michaelsen and Black (1994) Team-Learning Model (TLM) incorporates many of the elements included in the Learning Together Model. (3) The TLM requires students to be actively involved in the learning process. For example, students select the weights for various components of their grade (Michaelsen and Black 1994). These authors suggest the Instructional Activity Sequence (IAS) to implement cooperative learning within the TLM. Based on this sequence, students perform the following steps:
* Complete individual study prior to coming to class;
* Take an individual readiness assessment test (RAT) at the beginning of class to foster individual accountability;
* Work with their team members to retake the RAT;
* Write a team appeal for any questions missed by the team on the test;
* Get teacher input on the troublesome issues; and
* Work on application-oriented problems in class.
COOPERATIVE LEARNING IN ACCOUNTING
Notwithstanding decades of research on cooperative learning in other disciplines (which generally has produced positive results), accounting educators have only recently reported on the use of this pedagogical method. (4) We summarize in Table 1 the empirical studies in the accounting literature that are pertinent to this study.
In early efforts to encourage team learning, Lightner (1981) and Wilson (1982) used student groups and included a group-grade component in accounting classes. Lightner (1981) compared individual total points from four examinations for control and treatment sections and found that the performance of individuals working in groups was, on average, better than the performance of those who worked individually. Wilson (1982) conducted an experiment involving three instructors who taught introductory accounting. Each instructor taught both a control class in traditional lecture format and an experimental treatment class using an early version of Michaelsen and Black's TLM. (5) The grade in the treatment group consisted of individual, team, and peer-evaluation components; students determined the weight of each component. Wilson (1982) found no statistical difference in student performance. Both Lightner (1981) and Wilson (1982) found student satisfaction statistically greater in the group-oriented classes.
A number of current studies investigate student exam performance for a variety of cooperative learning techniques. Ravenscroft et al. (1995) find that students in an experimental treatment group, graded on both individual and team effort, performed substantially better on exams than those in a control group (graded entirely on individual effort). Hite (1996) discusses the TLM, but only implements and investigates the effectiveness of team midterm exam "re-takes" following individual exams. Students in a junior-level tax class who worked in teams to re-take midterms had better scores on their final exam (individual effort) and more positive attitudes toward the course and the teacher than students from a prior class who took only individual exams.
Ravenscroft et al. (1997) present the results of seven separate studies where they compare exam performance of students under varying conditions involving student teams and group grading. Their results suggest little or no improvement on exam scores when students worked in teams or when graded using group incentives. The results of student perceptions on multiple aspects/consequences of group work were mixed. Ciccotello et al. (1997) investigate the effect of student performance when students prepare for examinations using team problem-solving workshops and find that students who prepare for exams using such workshops outperform students who work individually.
Two studies examine the effect of teamwork on student attitudes. Caldwell et al. (1996) investigate the effect of a structured learning activity (approximately every other class period) on introductory accounting students' perceptions of accounting and find that students in the structured learning activity are more likely to maintain a positive perception of accounting than students in lecture format sections. Tanner and Lindquist (1998) used a financial accounting simulation for three weeks in their intermediate accounting class (about 15 percent of course grade) and found students' attitudes toward (1) financial accounting, (2) concern for fellow students, and (3) perceived achievement were very positive upon completion of the simulation.
As indicated by the preceding review, accounting education research has yet to arrive at a consensus of opinion regarding the efficacy of cooperative learning. One possible reason is that the studies reported thus far in accounting test in isolation only a single aspect of cooperative learning. For example, Caldwell et al. (1996) explore the effect of teamwork by using a control group (traditional lectures) and a treatment group (structured learning activity approximately every other class period). Hite's (1996) study investigates the effectiveness of teamwork by allowing teams to re-take the midterm exams (following the individually completed midterm exams), and then examines individual performance on the final.
While investigating an intervention in isolation is important from an experimental point of view, implementation of a more comprehensive cooperative learning environment may affect learning benefits realized by students. Based on data collected from over a thousand faculty participants in "Getting the Most Out of Groups" workshops, Michaelsen and Black (1994, 2) conclude that too often instructors, if they use groups at all, "employ strategies that are so narrow in scope that the results are self-limiting and may even be self-defeating." (6) This may suggest one explanation for the mixed results thus far in accounting.
Johnson et al. (2000) allude to another possible reason for the mixed results observed in accounting education studies. These authors evaluated the efficacy of eight different cooperative learning models, and point out that while all eight may be effective, not all methods are necessarily transferrable across educational contexts. What works for one teacher in a particular situation may not work for another in a similar or different situation. Taken together, faculty who wish to adopt cooperative learning methods should consider training in these techniques. This affords such faculty the opportunity to experiment with different approaches until a successful set of tools is developed.
Over the years, we have experimented with various aspects of cooperative learning by using teams for in-class problem solving, study, testing, and presentations, as well as changing the size/composition of formal and informal teams. After attending the continuing professional education session offered by Michaelsen (1998) and reading about the "goose leadership style" advocated by Belasco and Stayer (1993), we decided to implement and test the efficacy of a more comprehensive cooperative learning environment. (7) We used the TLM to actively engage students in their learning experience in two managerial accounting classes at one university.
DESCRIPTION OF TLM PEDAGOGY USED IN TREATMENT SECTIONS
First Class Session
A primary goal of cooperative learning is to create a learning environment where students are empowered by the leadership style of the professor and are given more responsibility for their own learning within the context of teamwork. Establishing this environment began the first day of class. The instructor used Exhibit 1 to illustrate to students, specifically within the context of preparing them for successful careers, the benefits of team learning. The instructor discussed the importance of team skills and asked students to explain what skills they thought employers valued. To reinforce the importance of team skills, several position announcements from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ 1998) were displayed. (8) The professor reiterated her commitment to (1) partner with students in the learning process and (2) empower students to take responsibility for their education. The professor also led a discussion of the responsibility each student has as a team member.
At this point, students were assigned to their permanent learning teams using two techniques suggested by Cottell and Millis (1993): "Value Line" and "Corners." These two methods resulted in student teams composed of different academic majors and learning styles. (9) After a team-building activity, the professor distributed the course syllabus and schedule. Students were given ten minutes to read these. The RAT process was described and students took their first individual RAT based on syllabus and schedule content; this was followed by the team retake of the RAT.
Michaelsen (1998) suggests separating the course grade criteria into three major performance areas: (1) individual performance, (2) team performance, and (3) individual contribution to the team (measured using a peer evaluation form). The first class period concluded with students working in their teams to determine grade weights for each major performance area and weighting of the components of the individual performance area. (10) Upon reaching a team consensus, each team selected a representative who worked together to determine the grade weights that the entire class would use. The resulting weights are presented in Exhibit 2. To summarize, the grade components for students in the treatment group were weighted 35 percent individual and 65 percent group while the grade weighting for students in the control group was 75 percent individual and 25 percent group.
Subsequent Class Activities
Most class periods began with a 15-minute overview of the assigned chapter, presented by student teams. Each team was responsible for preparing one chapter presentation during the quarter. The presenting team was required to meet with the professor at least one week prior to the team's presentation date to discuss chapter content and determine focus. These meetings took between ten and twenty minutes and were normally conducted during office hours. Teams prepared for the presentation on their own time, then met again with the professor, which enabled her to preview quality and content coverage. The second meeting took approximately ten minutes with most teams. Each team member was expected to participate in the presentation.
After the presentation, the professor briefly discussed content not covered by the team, and answered questions. Following the chapter presentation and discussion, students engaged in the three-step RAT process. The true/false and multiple choice questions contained in the RATs were reworked questions and exercises that had been assigned along with reading as homework to be completed prior to class. Students spent the remainder of the class period (approximately 45 minutes) working with their team on assigned activities: computational problems to develop technical skills and essay/logic problems to develop critical-thinking skills." (11)
Within the context of this comprehensive, active learning environment, we developed research questions to examine differences in student performance and perceptions. Specifically, we investigate student academic performance and perceptions within the TLM framework (where students introduce the chapter material) and compare that to a more traditional lecture-based environment using the following research hypotheses, stated in the null:
H1: There will be no difference in the mean final exam performance of students in a TLM environment compared to the mean performance of students in a traditional lecture-based format.
H2: There will be no difference in student perceptions of the course and the instructor for students in the TLM environment and those in the traditional lecture-based format.
The four-unit managerial accounting course is the second of two accounting courses required of all business students. It is typically taken at the sophomore level in a ten-week quarter system. The first 14 chapters of Garrison and Noreen's (1997a) managerial accounting textbook were covered, omitting process costing (Chapter 4) as well as flexible budgets and overhead analysis (Chapter 11). The control and treatment groups, each consisting of two sections, used the same syllabus and schedule. The professor who taught all four sections has taught this course for seven years.
Two managerial accounting classes in the spring quarter of 1998 serve as the control group. Of the 82 students in this group, 15 (18.3 percent) were nonbusiness majors. On average, approximately 50 percent of each period was devoted to a chapter lecture that discussed the theory. The remaining time was split between instructor-led coverage of chapter exercises or team activities where students worked on exercises. Students were assigned chapter problems that were picked up and graded the following class period.
The control group had two main grade components: individual performance and team performance (see Exhibit 2). Individual performance for the control group included homework, computer assignments, thought papers, the second midterm, and the individual component of a comprehensive final. Team performance in the control group included the following: in-class activities based on chapter exercises, a team presentation on management decisions and financial performance for a selected company, the first midterm, and a portion of the final. End-of-quarter peer reviews completed by each student were used to weight the team component of each student's grade. (12) Each individual evaluated his/her own contribution as well as the contribution of his/her team members based on six criteria using a 5-point, Likert-type scale.
Two sections of managerial accounting for the fall quarter 1998 serve as the treatment group where the TLM was implemented (see Exhibit 2). Twenty-four of the 81 students (30 percent) in the treatment group were nonbusiness majors. Class format followed the approach described in the preceding section on TLM.
The treatment group had three main grade components: individual performance, team performance, and team contribution. The individual performance component was similar to the control group's, except that individual RATs replaced homework. Team performance categories were essentially the same as the control group's, with team RATs as an additional component. In the treatment group, both midterms consisted of a team portion and an individual portion; this format was determined during an instructor-led discussion. Team contribution (peer evaluation) was a separate component in the treatment sections.
A common final exam was administered to each group. The format for the final was a one-hour team portion and a two-hour individual portion consisting of 50 multiple-choice questions (26 were conceptual and 24 required the student to solve computational problems). Questions were selected from the Garrison and Noreen (1997b) Managerial Accounting Test Bank. Based on the difficulty assigned by those authors, these questions were ranked as: 42 percent "easy," 52 percent "medium," and 6 percent "hard."
Doran et al. (1991) indicate that both college grade point average (GPA) and performance on exam one are good predictors of subsequent performance. Hite (1996) and Ravenscroft et al. (1995) include performance on exam one as a covariate.
Ravenscroft et al. (1997) include both performance on exam one and GPA as covariates. In the present study, we were unable to include exam one due to differences in the testing procedure between the two groups. The control group's first midterm was entirely a team effort and the second midterm was entirely individual. Both midterms for the treatment group were partitioned into a team and an individual portion.
In the present study, analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used to test the first research hypothesis. The dependent variable in the ANCOVA model is defined as the score on the two-hour individual portion of the final exam. The primary explanatory variable is an indicator variable denoting classroom format. GPA (collected from administrative records) is included as a covariate. In addition, a "nested" indicator variable is included in the model to control for possible differences between the two sections within each group (Ott 1993).
We also investigate the effect of cooperative learning on student perceptions using a series of t-tests of independent means. Questions were selected from the College of Business' Student Course/Faculty Rating Form. Students typically complete these anonymous evaluations during the last week of the quarter. The form consists of 18 questions: 15 address instructor performance and learning environment; 3 address factors beyond the control of the faculty member. This form uses a 5-point, Likert-type scale ranging from strongly agree (4) to strongly disagree (0).
Hite (1996) used three questions, taken from course evaluations, to identify students' attitudes toward the course and the teacher. One of the instruments used by Ravenscroft et al. (1997) was an end-of-semester anonymous survey. The present study selected six specific questions from the College of Business Form that most closely matched those of Hite (1996) and Ravenscroft et al. (1997).
Table 2 reports demographic statistics of the students in each group. Statistical analysis of the data using a pooled t-test suggests that the treatment and control groups are similar on most characteristics, with the exception of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) results. Two-tailed t-tests are reported because a priori, we do not expect any differences between the two groups. Mean performance on the individual component of the final for all sections was 67.0 points (range of 42.0 to 90.0 points of a possible 100.0 points). The average total SAT score for the treatment group is marginally higher than the average score for the control group (t = 1.943, p < 0.054). (13) Twenty-eight students, equally distributed between the control and treatment groups, did not have SAT scores on file. Using t-tests of independent means, we discovered that these 28 students were older and were enrolled in fewer credit hours (statistically significant).
Test of Academic Performance
Table 3 presents the ANCOVA results and the covariate-adjusted cell means (67.76 for the control group and 66.36 for the treatment group). The results suggest that, after controlling for GPA, classroom format had no statistically significant impact (F = 0.50, p < 0.275) on final exam performance. (14) Given that the final consisted of Managerial Accounting Test Bank questions, which tend to focus on application of content, it may not be surprising that there was no difference and that we are unable to reject H1.
Because of the greater number of nonbusiness majors in the experimental group we included an indicator variable denoting business vs. nonbusiness major and a treatment/major interaction term in our model. We also examined the sensitivity of our model to a second covariate to control for differences in high school SAT scores between the two groups. Finally, we ran a reduced model that omitted the 28 students who did not have an SAT score on file. Results from each of these three sensitivity tests do not differ significantly from those reported in Table 3.
Test of Student Perceptions
The results for student perceptions regarding the teacher and the course are included in Table 4. Because we predict that the TLM will improve student perception of the managerial accounting course, we conduct one-tail t-tests to examine six specific perceptions of the students. We found no difference between the mean responses for the treatment and the control groups for any of the six questions. These specific questions were selected to target, as nearly as possible, those that have been used in prior studies. It is possible that these questions are not linked closely enough to the benefits and advantages of a cooperative learning environment.
While students, on average, seemed indifferent about cooperative learning, we did observe positive reactions to this method by some students. These comments tended to focus on the autonomy and responsibility that students were given in the comprehensive cooperative learning format. Although anecdotal, a representative sampling of student remarks follows:
* "Leadership is why your style of teaching is so important to us. The new business world will not present us with a 'lecturer.' We will be presented with a vision and will be asked to work together with other employees that will move the company forward."
* "I could not have learned as much without the help of my group. I also learned from helping them. This two-way flow of information ingrained the material better than just reading or listening to lectures."
* "Personally, I liked the new format for this class. It made me take ownership for my own education and I felt much more engaged in learning. I feel those that oppose this teaching style are uncomfortable with change itself. Some people tend to resist change because it forces them to step out of their comfort level and think outside the box.
Although the general education literature contains hundreds of studies that document improved student performance, similar results have mostly eluded researchers in accounting. Such differences could be due to several reasons. Perhaps there exist some fundamental differences in these two major areas of study that we do not now understand, but are driving the divergent research results. Another possible explanation is that accounting educators have only begun to experiment with this teaching innovation. Given another decade of research, our results may begin to converge in a more positive vein. Finally, the disparity in results could be attributed to insufficient training in this methodology. Slavin (1989/1990), a recognized authority in the field of cooperative learning, warns educators that one of the impediments to successful implementation is that the method will be overestimated and "under-trained."
Regarding the results of the present study, we speculated about why we may not have observed differences between the two learning formats with respect to student perception and performance. The pedagogy we used in the control group contained a number of aspects that are common to a cooperative learning environment so there may not have been enough difference between the control and treatment groups. Regarding student perceptions, the cooperative learning format in accounting education is relatively new, so it may be the case that students are undecided about this methodology and not necessarily willing to commit themselves just yet. In addition, the questions we used are more focused on a lecture format, and do not specifically address the potential benefits of a cooperative learning environment.
Although we find no statistically significant results, we believe this study makes an important contribution to the growing body of knowledge regarding cooperative learning in accounting classrooms. First, we document the implementation of the TLM in an accounting course, which provides structure and encourages students to be more actively involved. Second, our results suggest that academic performance and perceptions are no different for students engaged in the TLM than students who took managerial accounting in a more traditional format. This addresses a concern by some faculty that group work results in a reduction in time for sufficient content coverage (Michaelsen and Black 1994). Finally, we examine student performance and perceptions within a comprehensive cooperative learning framework, rather than a more narrow, isolated intervention, which has been the case in earlier studies.
We acknowledge several limitations of this study. Regarding student performance, we used the same final for both the treatment group and the control group. As such, we did not focus on the attributes and skills that may be developed through cooperative learning. Future research should consider the development of leadership skills, attitudes toward accounting, changes in self-esteem, and retention of content as important variables of interest in the design of cooperative learning experiments.
Second, the University aggregates course evaluation responses. We could not examine individual student perceptions, nor could we match perceptions with performance. Future research might use an instrument similar to the Motivated Strategies Learning Questionnaire used by Ravenscroft et al. (1997) or the instrument developed by Tanner and Lindquist (1998). Such focused questionnaires provide the opportunity to more accurately identify and quantify differences in student perceptions. (15)
Third, the same instructor taught all four sections, which could have introduced bias. Within the context of the TLM, a study that includes (1) several professors, (2) different types of accounting classes in the same time period, (3) different universities, and (4) tests of skills and attributes in addition to content retention might be helpful. Future researchers might control for additional demographic variables such as outside workload, prior accounting work experience, academic major, and prior exposure to cooperative learning methods.
Kathryn A. S. Lancaster is an Associate Professor at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and Carolyn A. Strand is an Assistant Professor at Seattle Pacific University.
We offer sincere appreciation to David E. Stout (editor) and Susan P. Ravenscroft (associate editor) for their suggestions and insight, which significantly improved the quality of this paper. We also thank our anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments; and Andrew Schaffner, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, for his statistical acumen and suggestions.
(1.) A comprehensive list of studies is available from the Cooperative Learning Center at the University of Minnesota at http://clerc.com, where Roger and David Johnson are co-directors. An essay, "Cooperative Learning Methods: A Meta-Analysis," is available at that site.
(2.) Effect size provides information to assess the practical significance of research findings and thus serves as one basis for judging whether observed differences are significant in a practical sense (Stout and Ruble 1995).
(3.) At the 1998 AAA Annual Meeting and at the 1998 Accounting Educators' Conference, Michaelsen taught a workshop on using small groups effectively. Cottell and Millis offered a session on cooperative learning at the 1999 AAA Annual Meeting.
(4.) Ravenscroft et al. (1999) and Apostolou et al. (2001) together provide a comprehensive summary of this literature.
(5.) Following an unfruitful literature search, the authors contacted Dr. Larry Michaelsen in an effort to identify research on the efficacy of the TLM model. He served as Chair for Wilson's dissertation, which to Professor Michaelsen's knowledge, is the only empirical study of TLM.
(6.) Explanations for faculty reluctance to use groups include concerns about the ability to cover content and lack of formal training in the use of groups.
(7.) The leadership style adopted by the professor was influenced by reading Belasco and Stayer (1993) who believe that successful leaders: (1) transfer ownership for work to those who execute the work; (2) create the environment where ownership takes place; (3) coach the development of personal capabilities; and (4) learn quickly and inspire others to do likewise. Their new leadership paradigm, which resembles a flock of geese, encourages employees to become responsible, interdependent workers. The traditional leadership style, which Belasco and Stayer (1993) compare to that of a "lead buffalo," where employees rely on their leader for direction, is analogous to a traditional lecture class structure. In contrast, Belasco and Stayer's (1993) "lead goose" paradigm is more comparable to the cooperative-learning methodology in that the employees (students) are empowered to assume ownership and are responsible for making decisions that affect their success.
(8.) Examples included (1) The Walt Disney Company, which advertised a number of openings, most requiring word processing/spreadsheet capabilities and excellent conceptual, interpersonal, and communication skills; and (2) Everen Clearing, which needed a sales manager who was a self-starter, possessed exceptional interpersonal and communication skills, could effectively interface with executives, and could work as part of a team (WSJ 1998).
(9.) Indicated learning styles were based on student responses to the "Alert Scale of Cognitive Style" (Crane 1992).
(10.) The professor prescribed the following limits: A minimum of 20 percent and a maximum of 50 percent could be assigned to each of the three major performance areas. Further, the exams (midterm and final) must comprise at least 50 percent and the final may not be less than 30 percent of the individual performance grade. The RATs and computer assignments could not be less than 10 percent of the individual grade.
(11.) Examples of the RATs and activities are available from the first author.
(12.) For example, if an individual received an 80 percent team contribution evaluation from her peers, and her team had earned 90 of a possible 100 team points, then the team performance component of her final grade would be a 72.
(13.) College of Business records indicate that mean SAT and high school GPA scores have been increasing over time. For example, mean SAT scores were 1124, 1161, and 1225 for 1996, 1997, and 1998, respectively.
(14.) One of the underlying assumptions of ANCOVA is that the slopes of the two groups be equal, that is, the (linear) relationship between the covariate (GPA) and the dependent variable (final exam score) is similar for the control and treatment groups. Violation of this assumption would require us to use the Johnson-Neyman technique to determine "regions of significance" (Potthoff 1983; Pedhazur 1982; Rogosa 1980). To determine if the slope homogeneity assumption was tenable, we performed an F-test on the interaction between GPA and classroom format (Pedhazur 1982, 440-442). We failed to reject the null hypothesis (F = 0.80, p < 0.47). It is therefore concluded that the covariates relate similarly to the dependent measure for each group and that ANCOVA is a tenable approach.
(15.) Student responses to the following Likert-type comments might be more appropriate for assessing student perceptions of cooperative learning:
1. The instructor helped me understand the value of taking responsibility for my learning.
2. The instructor coached students and facilitated classroom activities.
3. The instructor encouraged me to think about and analyze course material.
4. The instructor provided class structure but empowered students to develop their leadership skills.
5. The instructor provided many opportunities for students to practice oral and written communications skills.
6. Group work helped me develop my conflict-management skills.
7. I took responsibility for identifying ways to improve my own and my teammates' learning processes.
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Empirical Studies in the Accounting Education Literature that Examine the Efficacy of Cooperative Learning (a) Literature Guides to Cooperative Learning Research Author Purpose of Study Ravenscroft et al. A literature guide for cooperative (1999) learning--defines cooperative learning, reviews theories, and includes an annotated bibliography. Apostolou et al. This literature review includes (2001) sections on assessment, curriculum reform and core competencies, and provides a summary of cases Author Dependent Variable(s) Ravenscroft et al. (1999) Apostolou et al. (2001) Author Result(s) Ravenscroft et al. (1999) Apostolou et al. (2001) Studies that Focus on Individual Performance Author Purpose of Study Lightner (1981) Compare individual exam performance of (1) control group with no group requirement (n = 61) to (2) experimental group with group requirement (n = 40); intermediate classes. Wilson (1982) Compare individual performance on AICPA Achievement Test and satisfaction between (1) three control group classes with lecture format (n = 84) to (2) three treatment classes using TLM (n = 74). Three instructors each taught one control and one treatment class; principles classes. Ravenscroft et al. Compare individual and group (1995) incentive (grading) effects. Control group-traditional grading (n = 17); treatment group- individual and group scores (n = 19); principles classes. Hite (1996) Examine affect of team "re-take" of midterm exam on (1) student performance on final exam, and (2) attitude towad teacher; control group (n = 161); treatment group (n = 117); tax classes. Ravenscroft et al. (1997) Reports results of seven studies, varying team learning and group grade incentives. Used first exam score and GPA as covariates, due to nonrandom samples; replicates and extends their 1995 study; principles, auditing, cost, and intermediate classes. Ciccotello et al. (1997) Compare exam performance of students who work in group problem- solving workshops (n = 44) and those who study individually (n = 30); managerial class. Author Dependent Variable(s) Lightner (1981) Total individual exam scores and responses to survey questions. Wilson (1982) AICPA Achievement Test score and levels of satisfaction. Ravenscroft et al. Sum of student's individual (1995) score on exams 2 and 3, quizzes, and final exam (exam 1 used as a covariate). Hite (1996) (1) Score on final exam; (2) examined 3 questions on student evaluations. Ravenscroft et al. (1997) Varied cumulative exam score (CES) subsequent to exam one; end-of- semester student evaluation rating, (SER); and Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ). Ciccotello et al. (1997) Exam scores (3) of each student. Author Result(s) Lightner (1981) Performance and perceptions significantly greater in the treatment section. Wilson (1982) No significant difference in performance on AICPA Achievement Test. Group oriented students scored significantly higher on several satisfaction measures. Ravenscroft et al. Performance in treatment (1995) section substantially better than performance in control group. Hite (1996) Class that had team "re-take" of midterm exam scored higher than control group on final and in attitudes toward teacher. Ravenscroft et al. (1997) Little or no effect of team learning or group grade incentives on exam scores, controlling for differences in GPA and initial exam score. Ciccotello et al. (1997) Students who prepare for exams using group problem-solving workshops perform better than students who work independently. Studies that Examine Student Attitude/Perceptions Author Purpose of Study Caldwell et al. (1996) Investigate effect of a structured learning activity (approximately every other class period) on introductory accounting students' perceptions of accounting; principles I (control group, n = 212; treatment, n = 202); principles II (control group, n = 80; treatment, n = 86). Tanner and Lindquist (1998) Examine student attitudes toward financial accounting, fellow students, and perceived achievement, using a three-week simulation exercise; intermediate class (n = 35). Author Dependent Variable(s) Caldwell et al. (1996) Survey instrument with 20 statements; compared responses of control and treatment groups at beginning and end of semester. Tanner and Lindquist (1998) Survey instrument developed by authors. Author Result(s) Caldwell et al. (1996) Students started with positive perceptions; treatment group more likely to maintain positive attitude. Students in treatment group performed marginally better than control group. Tanner and Lindquist (1998) Attitudes toward accounting fellow students, perceived achievement were positive. (a)The following journals were searched for empirical studies in cooperative learning in the accounting curriculum: Accounting Education: A Journal of Theory, Practice and Research; Accounting Educators' Journal; Advances in Accounting Education; Issues in Accounting Education; and Journal of Education for Business. All studies from 1995 beginning with Ravenscroft et al. (1995), which we believe is the first 1990+ study to empirically study the effects of cooperative learning in the accounting curriculum, to the present were included. TABLE 2 Mean Comparison of Student Demographic Statistics (a) (Control Group vs. Treatment Group) Control Treatment Mean Mean n SAT Score (Total) 1122.61 1164.55 133 College GPA (4.0 scale) 2.97 3.00 161 H.S. GPA (4.0 scale) 3.50 3.51 159 Hours Enrolled 14.52 14.96 161 Age 21.00 21.10 161 Gender (c) 44% female 41% female 161 Individual Final 67.59 66.40 (Min. 44, Max. 90) (Min. 42, Max. 90) t-value p< (b) SAT Score (Total) 1.943 0.054 College GPA (4.0 scale) 0.509 0.611 H.S. GPA (4.0 scale) 0.032 0.974 Hours Enrolled 1.294 0.197 Age 0.328 0.744 Gender (c) 0.410 0.682 Individual Final 0.646 0.519 (a)All variables were obtained administrative records. (b)All tests are two-tailed. (c)Approximated using Kendall's tau-b. TABLE 3 Analysis of Covariance on Individual Final Exam Score Sum of Mean F- Source of Variation Squares df Squares value p< (a) GPA 3,615 1 3,615 54.46 (#) 0.009 Classroom Format 36 1 36 0.50 (&) 0.275 GPA x Format 53 1 53 0.80 (^) 0.233 Section within Format 144 2 72 0.62 (**) 0.269 GPA x Section within Format 133 2 66 0.58 (**) 0.282 Error 17,657 153 115 Adjusted [R.sup.2] = 0.155 Control Treatment Group Group Covariate-Adjusted Cell Means 67.76 66.36 (a)p-values are one-tailed. (#)[MS.sub.gpa]/[MS.sub.gpa x section within format] (&)[MS.sub.format]/[MS.sub.section within format] (^)[MS.sub.gpa x format]/[MS.sub. gpa x section within format] (**)MS/MSE Dependent variable is Final Exam Score; Covariate is College GPA prior to course; Format is an indicator variable with 1 denoting treatment group; and Section is included to control for any variation between class sections within groups. TABLE 4 Comparison of Student Perceptions (4 = strongly agree; 0 = strongly disagree) Mean (variances) Control n Treatment n t-value Instructor is a good educator for this course. 2.94 67 3.01 70 0.47 (0.84) (0.85) Objectives for the course were made clear. 3.20 70 3.04 71 -1.21 (0.63) (0.56) Course instruction is consistent with the stated course objectives. 3.15 70 2.97 71 -1.30 (0.77) (0.66) My interest in subject matter has been stimulated by this course. 2.46 58 2.26 67 -1.06 (1.17) (0.96) Instructor is concerned with student's learning and is helpful. 3.01 69 3.11 71 0.67 (0.78) (0.73) Instructor made me feel comfortable about participating in class. 3.15 69 3.20 71 0.28 (0.64) (0.68) p< (a) Instructor is a good educator for this course. 0.32 Objectives for the course were made clear. 0.11 Course instruction is consistent with the stated course objectives. 0.10 My interest in subject matter has been stimulated by this course. 0.14 Instructor is concerned with student's learning and is helpful. 0.25 Instructor made me feel comfortable about participating in class. 0.39 (a)All tests are one-tailed. EXHIBIT 1 Traditional vs. Team Learning (Objectives and Instructional Strategies) Instructional Strategies Objectives Traditional Mastery of course subject matter * Lecture * Class discussion * Individual study Develop students' abilities * Class discussion to use course concepts in thinking * Individual exams/projects and problem solving * Group presentations and/or papers Prepare students to be life-long * Little or nothing learners (Mostly counterproductive because passive role reinforces students dependency) Develop students' interpersonal * "Sink or swim" and team interaction skills (Since group work is outside class, instructors cannot help students learn from their experience working in a group) Enjoy course * Content well organized * Instructor delivers content with enthusiasm and "style" * Lectures supported by high-quality visuals Instructional Strategies Objectives Team Learning Mastery of course subject matter * Pre-class individual study * Readiness assessment process Develop students' abilities to use course concepts in thinking * In-class group/team work and problem solving (Problem-based discussion within and between groups) Prepare students to be life-long * Active learning learners (Exposes students to multiple learning strategies; learners become confident and competent) Develop students' interpersonal * In-class group/team work and team interaction skills (Tasks require cooperation; provide feedback on and rewards for both on and rewards for both individual and group performance) Enjoy course * Team assignments that are interesting, relevant and challenging * Immediate feedback * Friendship/social support Source: Michaelsen (1998) EXHIBIT 2 Grade Components Treatment Groups (weights determined by students within limits given by professor) Individual Performance Section I Section II * Individual Readiness Assessment Tests 5.25% 5.25% * Computer Assignments and Activities 12.25 12.25 * Individual Portion of Midterms 7.00 7.00 * Individual Portion of Final 10.50 10.50 Total Individual Grade Component 35% 35% Team Performance Section I Section II * Team Readiness Assessment Tests 12.00% 13.50% * In-Class Team Activities 12.00 13.50 * Presentation 8.00 9.00 * Team Portion of Midterms and Final 8.00 9.00 Total Team Grade Component 40% 45% Team Contribution (Peer Evaluation) 25% 20% TOTAL 100% 100% Control Group (weights determined by professor) Individual Performance * Computer Assignments and 5% Activities * Homework 10 * Second Midterm 40 * Individual Portion of Final 20 Total Individual Grade Component 75% Team Performance Weighted by Team Contribution (peer evaluation) * In-Class Team Activities 10% * Presentation 5 * First Midterm and Team Portion 10 25% of Final TOTAL 100%…
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Publication information: Article title: Using the Team-Learning Model in a Managerial Accounting Class: An Experiment in Cooperative Learning. Contributors: Lancaster, Kathryn A. S. - Author, Strand, Carolyn A. - Author. Journal title: Issues in Accounting Education. Volume: 16. Issue: 4 Publication date: November 2001. Page number: 549+. © Not available. COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group.