Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

Faculty Utilization of End-of-Chapter Textbook Material in Developing Intermediate Accounting Students' Professional Competencies

Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

Faculty Utilization of End-of-Chapter Textbook Material in Developing Intermediate Accounting Students' Professional Competencies

Article excerpt


For over 20 years, those interested in accounting education have pondered the question, "What type of curriculum will best prepare students for successful careers in accounting?" The American Accounting Association's Bedford Committee (1986), the then-Big 8 CPA firms (1989), the Accounting Education Change Commission (1990, hereafter referred to as AECC), and Albrecht & Sack (2000) have all answered this question in essentially the same way. In their opinion, accounting education should decrease its traditional focus on the memorization of technical accounting rules and increase its emphasis on critical-thinking, communication, and interpersonal skills.

The end-of-chapter (EOC) material found in accounting textbooks is often the primary source of the questions, exercises, problems, and cases that faculty members use to help students develop the competencies that the instructors consider desirable (Davidson & Baldwin, 2005). For this reason, it is important to know two things about EOC material. First, is it of a type that is capable of developing students' technical, critical- thinking, communication, and interpersonal skills? Second, what types of EOC material do faculty members actually use? Answers to the first question will provide evidence of the extent to which textbook authors provide instructors with the tools they need to fulfill the mandate that the accounting profession has given them. Answers to the second question will furnish insight into the skills that instructors actually emphasize in the courses they teach.

The preceding questions are important in every accounting course. Nevertheless, given the fact that intermediate accounting has long been regarded as "one of the most important courses for accounting majors" (Dow & Feldman, 1997, 62), the answers to these questions are especially important in the intermediate series of courses. The research that has been published to date, however, has provided only limited answers to these questions, as the following section will demonstrate.


Griffin & Dawkins (1986) surveyed intermediate accounting faculty to determine which textbooks and supplemental materials they used, the number of courses they employed in the intermediate accounting sequence, and the subject matter covered in each course. Libby (1991) investigated the use of cases in a variety of accounting classes. The participants in her study were told to ignore their use of "short case problems ... resembling textbook examples" and to focus only on "lengthier situations requiring application of technical knowledge and a more global understanding of management motivations and the impact of decisions" (1991, 196). Libby found that approximately 14% of the 79 respondents who taught intermediate accounting used the type of case she was investigating.

Dow & Feldman (1997) surveyed faculty who taught the first intermediate accounting course for the purpose of identifying the techniques that were used to evaluate student performance, the type of material that was utilized to develop students' communication skills, and the nature of the non-textbook material that was employed. Dow & Feldman found that about 15% of their 314 respondents used EOC textbook cases.

Davidson & Baldwin (2005) investigated the extent to which the six levels of Bloom's taxonomy of learning were represented in the questions, exercises, problems, and cases contained in 41 intermediate accounting textbooks written by eight author teams during the period 1953--2001. Davidson & Baldwin examined only the "revenue recognition" and the "investments" chapters in each textbook and found the following. First, for both chapters combined, the amount of EOC material in the lower levels (i.e., Levels 1--4) of Bloom's taxonomy was at least 84% in each textbook. Second, across author teams, the amount of EOC material at the upper levels (Levels 5 and 6) of the taxonomy was not that much different for the two chapters (12% for revenue recognition versus 8% for investments). …

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