An exploration of tertiary accounting students' prior approaches to learning accounting

Byrne, Marann; Willis, Pauline
August 2009
International Journal of Management Education (Oxford Brookes Un;2009, Vol. 7 Issue 3, p35
Academic Journal
Improving the quality of learning is an ongoing concern for accounting educators. Studies on student learning in higher education have shown that students' prior experiences of learning a subject influence their subsequent approaches to learning that subject, which in turn affects the quality of learning achieved. Thus, this study gathers evidence from incoming tertiary accounting students on their prior approaches to learning accounting. Using the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students (ASSIST), data were collected from 265 students immediately prior to the commencement of their accounting degree. The analysis shows that overall the students favoured a strategic approach and there is a highly significant difference in their scores on this scale compared to the scores on both the deep and surface scales. The surface approach was their least favoured with the scores on this scale being significantly lower than those on either of the other two scales. Surprisingly, the surface scores are considerably lower than those reported in other studies with accounting students. Gender differences and the scores on each of the subscales are also explored. The paper concludes by discussing the implications of these findings for accounting educators and suggesting areas for future research.


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