Digital Commons @ Butler University
Scholarship and Professional Work - Business College of Business 4-1-1999
The Effect of Teaching Methods on Examination
Performance and Attitudes in an Introductory
Financial Accounting Course
Karel A. Updyke
Butler University, firstname.lastname@example.org
James F. Sander
Butler University, email@example.com
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“The Effect of Teaching Methods on Examination Performance and Attitudes in an Introductory Financial Accounting Course,” Journal of Education for Business, (74) March/April 1999.1
ABSTRACT. This article describes a study in which a group-Socratic teaching method and an interactive lecture style were compared for their effect on students' examination performance in an introductory financial accounting course. The effect of teaching method on students' attitudes toward the accounting profession and the course was also analyzed. An ANOVA design was used to test for differences between experimental and control groups of undergraduate students. The results provide no evidence that either method of instruction results in significantly higher scores on examinations; nor was there any statistically significant difference in attitudes toward the accounting profession or the course.
Over the past several years, many diverse groups have called for a change in the manner in which accounting is taught (AAA, 1986). The clamor for change from different quarters exhibits a constant theme: Academics are being asked to deliver a more conceptual approach, develop group problem-solving skills, and establish a base for life-long learning in students (Perspectives ,1989).
As a result of these appeals, a decision was made to restructure our introductory financial accounting course. Prior to this, we had used what can be loosely described as an "interactive lecture" method. The year after the restructuring was implemented, we conducted a study to examine the effects of the new method versus the old. In this article, we present the results of a study measuring the effects of the new method on student examination performance and attitudes toward accounting.
The redesign of the introductory accounting course was influenced by literature indicating that verbal material produced by a learner is remembered better than similar material presented to the learner (Jacoby, 1978; McDaniel, Friedman, & Bourne, 1978; Slamecka & Graf, 1978). The course design incorporated this concept, which suggests that an effective course is one fashioned around essential questions that cause a student to search for knowledge. Under this more conceptual approach, the questions and the resulting answers deliver the content of the course (Wiggins, 1987), rather than the instructor simply lecturing to students. Also, consideration was given to the notion, supported in the literature, that cooperative learning results in greater mastery of a subject than individual learning does (Slavin, 1987; Lindquist, 1995). Most accounting professors are unaware of the benefits of cooperative learning (Cottell & Millis, 1992). The new approach assigned students to groups that would search for answers to questions posed by the instructor. This method will be referred to as the group-Socratic style (a more complete explanation of the group-Socratic approach, along with examples of questions used, is presented in the appendix).
Lindquist (1995) conducted a case...