Measuring the Effect of Innovations in Teaching Methods on the Performance of Accounting Students

An Empirical Study Into the Relationship Between Learning Objectives, Teaching Methods, Knowledge Levels and the Performance of Students in an Accounting Context
Part of the Educational Innovation in Economics and Business book series (EIEB, volume 7)


Research on teaching methods that are employed in courses in abstract subject areas such as mathematics, physics and also accounting, shows that traditional methods of instructing and evaluating students still predominate to a large extent, based on teaching and evaluation methods such as lectures and multiple choice exams8. However, there are also examples of instructors or institutions that have either revised individual courses or have redesigned their entire curriculum to modernize and improve the educational process9. Teachers that are engaged in improving the educational process by looking for new and innovative ways to design their courses or organize their curriculum, inherently face the problem of measuring the impact of such changes. Usually, the effect of course revisions is measured by using student evaluations or changes in exam results. The primary argument of this article is that such instruments may provide an inadequate basis for evaluating the impact of educational changes on student performance. This premise was based on the experiences taken from the revision of an intermediate accounting course for business economics students. In the course discussed in this article the passing rate for the final written exam had been a problem for a number of years as less than 50% of the students passed the course exam, indicating that the applied teaching methods did not adequately prepare them to meet the course objectives. However, the annual student evaluations of this course revealed that the quality of this structure was rated satisfactory and students typically complained only on minor practical elements of the course that should be improved. These mixed signals eventually resulted in a project involving teaching staff, students and educationalists in which the structure of the course was re-evaluated through re-examining the learning objectives and the instructional design of the course. New learning objectives were specifically aimed at teaching students cognitive strategies to apply existing knowledge on accounting procedures in a new (unfamiliar) setting. From the objectives defined, a new instructional design was developed explicitly aimed to meet the course objectives. Given the inconsistent results of the student survey and the exam results, a research project was undertaken to assess the consequences of the changes in educational methods that were adopted.


Teaching Method Case Description Procedural Knowledge Cost Allocation Declarative Knowledge 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Economics and Business AdministrationMaastricht UniversityMaastrichtthe Netherlands

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