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How Much Do Study Habits, Skills, and Attitudes Affect Student Performance in Introductory College Accounting Courses? *

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* * * * 1 New Horizons in Education, Vol.59, No.3 , December 2011
How Much Do Study Habits, Skills, and Attitudes Affect Student Performance in Introductory College Accounting Courses?
Darwin D. YU Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines
Abstract
Background:
Financial accounting is a skills course which to a large extent can be best learned through deliberate practice. Teachers implement this by continuously assigning homeworks, encouraging good study habits, asking students to budget time for studying, and generally exhorting students to “work hard”. Aims: This paper examines the impact of “study habits, skills, and attitudes” (SHSAs) on the performance of students in an introductory nancial accounting college course. Sample: 395 2 nd year business students in a Philippine university. Method: Data related to variables found to have inuenced accounting performance in previous researches as well as SHSA variables are collected through student survey and school records. They are treated as independent variables using multiple regression analysis, with the accounting course nal grade as the dependent variable. The paper also examines the factors that differentiate high- from low-performing students. Results: The study found that math prociency, English prociency, high school accounting, and academic aptitude inuence accounting performance, supporting the ndings of many previous researches on cognitive factors. Among the SHSA factors, only student perception of teacher effectiveness and level of effort inuence accounting performance. Time spent studying, attendance in review classes conducted in tutorial centers, motivation, and study habits have no significant effect. Upon further analysis comparing high and low performers, study habits show up to be signicant as well. In particular, students who performed better are those who did more in terms of reading ahead, doing their homework, participating in class, and cramming for exams.
Conclusion:
Since student perception of teacher effectiveness strongly inuences accounting performance, it is critical that hiring and training of accounting faculty be given utmost importance. Level of effort and good study habits also help, but not the sheer number of study hours. Keywords: accounting student performance, study habits, student perception of teacher effectiveness
學習習慣、技能和態度如何影響在高校基礎會計課程的學生表現?
楊立偉
亞典耀大學,菲律賓
摘要 背景:
財務會計課是一門技能科目,在很大程度上可以通過刻意練習以得到最好的果效。教師通過訓練學生經常做功課、鼓勵良好的學習習慣、要求學生安排時間去溫習、和不斷的勸告學生要努力學習等方法去達成任務。
目的:
本文探討學習習慣、技能和態度
(SHSAs)
如何影響在高校基礎會計課程的學生表現。

樣本:
在一所菲律賓大學大二商業貿易課的
395 位學生。
方法:
根據先前的研究,有關影響會計表現力的變數和
SHSA
變數的資料收集,是通過學生的調查和學校記錄而得。它們被視為使用多元回歸分析中的獨立變數,會計課程的最終成績為因變數。本文也探討區分學生成績表現高低的因素。
結果:
本研究發現,數學能力、英語水準、高中會計成績和學能性向都影響大學會計科的成績,與很多以往認知因素的研究結果相符。在
SHSA
因素中,只有學生對教師成效的觀感和學生本人的努力程度影響大學會計科的成績。學生用於溫習的時間、參加補習社溫習班、學習動機、和學習習慣等都沒有顯著的效果。進一步分析本研究中高和低成績的學生,發覺學習習慣是重要的因素。表現較好的學生包括提前有閱讀、做功課、在課堂上參與、而且考試前盡力溫習。
結論:
由於學生對教師成效的觀感會強烈影響會計科的成績,雇用和培訓會計教師至關重要。努力和良好的學習習慣也有幫助,但並非只是學習時間數量之多少這樣簡單。
關鍵詞:
會計學生的表現、學習習慣、學生對教師效能的觀感 2
Darwin D. YU
Introduction
Financial Accounting is usually one of the first business courses taken by college business students. As such, financial accounting not only exposes students to a system of recording and summarizing business transactions, but more importantly, it helps students interpret and analyze financial information which are crucial inputs in most business decisions. In many business programs for non-accounting majors, however, accounting is considered to be a difcult subject to pass (see Doran, Bouillon & Smith,
1991; Elias, 2005; Lane & Porch, 2002). In the university where this study is conducted, the percent of students who obtain a nal grade of less than C (“satisfactory”) in their rst college accounting course is 30 to 35%, making it the business course with the lowest average grade. Financial accounting is basically a skills course, and as such, constant practice is key to grasping the concepts. The amount of time spent studying coupled with “deliberate practice” can improve academic performance (Plant, Ericsson, Hill & Asberg, 2005). In line with this, accounting teachers in this university exhort their students to do the exercises at the end of each chapter in the textbook, to answer the additional exercises in the workbook, and even to attend review classes outside of regular class hours to drill in the concepts. Teachers also “talk up” or emphasize the importance of budgeting sufcient time outside of class hours to adequately prepare for classes, encourage certain study habits such as reading ahead, studying in groups, and careful note-taking. In short, students are asked to “work hard” to pass the course. Motivating the students becomes a constant concern of the teachers, and this includes making the lessons more meaningful, being sensitive to students’ difculties, and giving regular feedback to students’ works.
How much of these, however, actually affect accounting performance? This study focuses on the influence of these types of non-cognitive factors such as time spent studying, study habits, level of effort, motivation, attending review classes conducted by independent tutorial centers, as well as student perception of teacher effectiveness on the performance of students in introductory college accounting courses. For lack of a better term, this study will refer to them as “study habits, skills, and attitudes” (SHSAs), which was used in the Crede & Kuncel (2008) meta-analysis covering 344 studies. They claim that SHSAs are strongly related to academic performance in college, and more importantly, they are quite independent of both high school grades and standardized college admission tests. Crede and Kuncel explain that this is most likely due to students acquiring new study skills, or taking greater personal responsibility, when they are in college. This study is similar in approach to studies which examine a broad range of cognitive and non-cognitive factors that affect accounting performance such as academic aptitude, math proficiency, age, gender, study effort, work experience, and high school accounting (Gracia & Jenkins, 2003; Gul & Fong, 1993; Guney, 2009; Naser & Peel, 1998; and Wooten, 1998). This study departs from these other studies through its focus: it is primarily interested in non-cognitive factors related to the amount of work or effort students put in, and in behaviors which may inuence the quality of studying. It still builds on the results of previous studies by including factors well-known to affect accounting performance as control variables to separate out the effect of SHSA variables. This study is the first of its kind involving students from the Philippines, and among the few conducted in developing and newly developed countries, such as Malaysia (Tho, 1994), Hong Kong (Gul & Fong, 1993; Lee, 1999; Wong & Chia, 1996), Singapore (Koh & Koh, 1999), and the West Bank (Naser and Peel, 1998). In these countries, English is not the rst language, so there is also the issue of English proficiency as a possibly factor in determining accounting performance. 3
How Much Do Study Habits, Skills, and Attitudes Affect Student Performance in Introductory College Accounting Courses?
Review of Related Research This section initially discusses the factors which are well-known to influence accounting performance since they are used as control variables in this study. Research related to SHSA-like factors, potentially related to accounting performance, are more extensively discussed.
Control Variables Most researchers agree that academic aptitude has a positive effect on accounting performance (Doran et al., 1991; Eskew & Faley, 1988; Hartnett, Romcke & Yap, 2004; Tho, 1994; Tyson, 1989). There is also a similar consensus regarding math proficiency having a positive effect on accounting performance (Eskew & Faley, 1988; Tho, 1994; Tyson, 1989). English proficiency is also included as a control variable here, since Philippines is a non-native English speaking country yet accounting courses taught in the university involved in this study are taught in English, and use an English accounting textbook as well as other teaching materials in English. Accounting performance researches which include language prociency as a predictor variable are rare since most of these researches are conducted in English-speaking countries such as the United States, England, and Australia. Two researches done in Hong Kong (Gul & Fong, 1993;
Wong & Chia, 1996) though, show that English prociency is significantly positively associated with accounting performance. College students who have taken accounting studies during high school have been found to perform better in their college accounting course since they are usually tested on topics which were taken in high school (Eskew & Faley, 1988; Gracia & Jenkins, 2003; Lynn, Shehata & White, 1994; Naser & Peel, 1998; Tho, 1994). Finally, gender has been included in many studies, but the results are mixed. Bartlett, Peel & Pendlebury (1993), Doran et al. (1991), and Koh & Koh (1999) found that males outperform females while Gracia & Jenkins (2003), Tho (1994), and Tyson (1989) found it to be the other way around. Lee (1999) and Lynn et al. (1994) found either no or inconsistent effects. It seems that there are other intervening variables that interact with the gender variable to produce either a positive or negative effect, such as the ratio of male to female students in the class (Tho, 1994), or the students and teachers having the same gender (Lipe, 1989).
SHSA Factors Motivation and hard work have been identified to be almost equally as important as, or more important than, cognitive factors in explaining students’ academic performance. Students who are highly motivated achieved better grades than their peers (Harrell, Caldwell & Doty, 1985). Motivation can influence effort, which in turn signicantly inuences accounting performance (Wooten,
1998). Anthony (2000) found that students and faculty rate “self-motivation” highly among the factors most likely to influence success in math subjects, as shown by their drive towards completion of assignments and passing the exams. Among the factors most likely to inuence failure in math subjects, both groups rate “lack of effort” highly, and this was shown through low class attendance and less than 20% of the students spending the recommended 12-13 hours of study per week on their math course. It is notable here that these factors rate more highly than inadequate math background knowledge. Dewan & Kaplan (2005) explain why a group of students with average grades in
rst-year statistics and average GPA perform more poorly in their 2nd year nance course than the group of students with even lower grades in first-year statistics and GPA. They think that since the finance course requires more application, these students lack the drive for hard work to go beyond memorization despite their innate ability in the foundational subjects. Lounsbury, Gibson & Hamrick
(2004), show that work drive, dened as “a disposition to * Job Board * About * Press * Blog * Stories * Terms * Privacy * Copyright * We're Hiring! * Help Center
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