Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

Developing an Assessment and Development Plan for Students Entering Intermediate Accounting I: The Process and Student Reactions to the Plan

Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

Developing an Assessment and Development Plan for Students Entering Intermediate Accounting I: The Process and Student Reactions to the Plan

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Driven by a desire to improve student knowledge of accounting fundamentals entering Intermediate Accounting I, and concerned about the diverse backgrounds of our students entering the course, faculty at our school decided to study the situation and to formulate a plan going forward. In our program, we have a number of students who have taken the accounting principles courses at junior colleges, and we also have a number of non-traditional students returning to school to study accounting who may have had those courses a number of years ago. In addition, we have a growing number of foreign students with diverse backgrounds. We desire continuous improvement in student retention and in student performance, and we want to place students entering the first intermediate accounting course on a more level playing field, which in turn raises the academic level of the course overall.

In response to these concerns and to our desire for improvement, we formed an Intermediate Readiness Committee, comprised largely of faculty who teach Intermediate Accounting, to discuss the issues and develop a plan. We decided to implement a barrier exam that students must pass in order to complete the first intermediate accounting course. We very leniently allowed multiple attempts at the exam and found the pass rate to be quite low. We studied exam results and identified weak areas for students in an effort to help them pass the exam. After one semester under this plan, we concluded that the process was too time consuming, taking away needed study time for the material in the first intermediate accounting course. Our revised plan is a combination of testing, with only one attempt at the exam, and development, using accounting software as a remedial program for those who do not score at least 70 percent on the exam. (Information about ALEKS[R], Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces, can be found at http://www.ALEKS.com. ALEKS[R] is an online, web-based system based on individualized assessments.)

The committee continues to monitor the exam process and analyzes data on an ongoing basis. As a result of this monitoring, we have also implemented an alternative course to replace the second accounting principles course for students majoring in accounting. All College of Business students must complete the same first accounting principles course (financial). Business students, other than accounting majors, complete a second accounting principles course that is a combination of financial and managerial accounting, while accounting majors complete the alternative accounting principles course that is primarily financial accounting. A future study will examine the impact of the alternative course designed specifically for accounting majors, since we do not have sufficient data to analyze the impact at this time.

The purpose of this paper is to describe the process we used in developing our current program, as well as student reactions to the program. We also make recommendations to other schools offering accounting degrees, so they might benefit from our experience. We suggest this model as an integral part of the assessment process for accreditation purposes, as well. We find that students generally enjoyed the developmental software and believed that the assessment and development program was rewarding and useful to them in Intermediate I.

There is a stream of prior research related to improving performance in the first intermediate accounting course. Diagnostic exams are determined to be useful in predicting grades in the first intermediate accounting course (McCormick & Montgomery, 1974; Buehlmann, 1975; Delaney et al., 1979; Hicks & Richardson, 1984; Danko-McGhee & Duke, 1992; Shoulders & Hicks, 2008; Ward et al., 2012). Also, there is a positive relationship between student grades in the second accounting principles course and grades in the first intermediate accounting course (Buehlmann, 1975; Delaney et al. …

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