Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

Assessment of a Master of Accountancy Program: A Case Study at the University of Idaho

Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

Assessment of a Master of Accountancy Program: A Case Study at the University of Idaho

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The Accounting Department faculty at the University of Idaho developed a formal and systematic assurance of learning plan to demonstrate that graduates achieve learning expectations. The Master of Accountancy Assessment Plan provides guidance for assurance of learning at the program level and the individual course level. The assessment results of the student learning goals are used to modify and improve the curriculum.

In this paper, the Master of Accountancy Assessment Plan is presented. Also the MACCT assessment process in 2007-08 and 2008-09 is discussed, including the actual activities, the courses utilized, the rubrics used to evaluate the performance, the results, and the action taken to "close the loop" to improve student learning.

INTRODUCTION

According to AACSB, "Student learning is the central activity of higher education. Definition of learning expectations and assurance that graduates achieve learning expectations are key features of any academic program." To be able to demonstrate that achievement at graduation requires a comprehensive learning outcomes assessment plan.

The Accounting Department faculty at the University of Idaho developed a formal and systematic assessment plan in 2006. The current Master of Accountancy (MACCT) learning goals address students' (1) professional accounting knowledge, (2) critical thinking, ethical problem solving, and research skills, (3) communication skills, (4) clarify purpose and perspective, and (5) teamwork and collaboration.

In this paper, the assurance of learning process of the Master of Accountancy program is presented. The MACCT Assessment Plan is discussed, including the parties involved, the responsibilities of the department head and Accounting Programs Assessment Committee, and the direct and indirect assessment methods used. The MACCT assessment process in 2007-08 and 2008-09 is also discussed, including the actual activities, the courses utilized, the rubrics used to evaluate the performance, the results, and the action taken to "close the loop" to improve student learning.

BACKGROUND

The University of Idaho was founded in 1889 as the land-grant institution for the state. The main campus is a residential campus located in Moscow, Idaho. The accounting program at the University of Idaho is housed in the Department of Accounting within the College of Business and Economics (CBE).

The business program was first accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) in 1993 and the accounting program was separately accredited in 2000. Accreditation for both programs was extended in 2009. In the fall 2008 semester, the CBE had 1,294 students taking courses in two academic departments: Business and Accounting. The CBE offers a baccalaureate degree program leading to a B.S. Business (with majors in Accounting, Business Economics, Finance, Information Systems, Management and Human Resources, Marketing, and Production Operations Management) and masters* degree programs leading to a Master of Accountancy and Executive MBA.

In 2008-2009 the Department of Accounting was comprised of nine state-supported faculty positions, eight in accounting and one in business law. The accounting programs are oriented toward professional careers in accounting. The programs work to develop and enhance a student's thinking, judgment, and communication skills in accounting, while providing a sound technical foundation. In fall 2008, there were 209 undergraduate accounting majors. Forty-two B.S. in Business with a major in accounting degrees were awarded during the 2008-2009 academic year.

The Master of Accountancy (MACCT) degree was started in 1996 in response to the enactment of the 150 credit hour educational requirement introduced by the Idaho State Board of Accountancy for students seeking certification as Certified Public Accountants in Idaho. The degree provides an attractive postgraduate program of study to meet this requirement by offering a general graduate degree allowing students the opportunity to achieve both a broader and deeper knowledge of accounting and to acquire expertise in a second area of their choice, such as, finance, information systems, and law. …

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