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Impact of prior content and meta‐cognitive knowledge on students' performance in an introductory accounting course

Lin Mei Tan (School of Accountancy, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand)
Fawzi Laswad (School of Accountancy, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand)

Pacific Accounting Review

ISSN: 0114-0582

Article publication date: 16 May 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of five factors, reflecting students' diversity in prior content and metacognitive knowledge, on students' academic performance in the introductory accounting course.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on a conceptual framework of prior knowledge, five factors are hypothesised to have an impact on students' performance. They are: prior accounting knowledge, age, gender, intended academic major, and first language. A self‐administered questionnaire is completed by students enrolled in the compulsory introductory accounting course at a large multi‐campus NZ university. Multivariate analysis is carried out to test the research hypotheses and the predictive ability of the five independent variables on students' performance.

Findings

Consistent with the educational psychology literature, prior content knowledge has a significant impact. Students' metacognitive knowledge, which differs according to their language and gender, also has a significant effect on students' performance.

Research limitations/implications

The low R2 in the regression model suggests that, although some of the study variables are significant, a high proportion of variation in academic performance remains unexplained by the model. The results may also not be representative of student population in general as information is elicited from students from one particular university. Future research could extend the sample to more than one tertiary institution and consider the effect of other potential variables such as students' intrinsic motivation and learning strategies.

Originality/value

Unlike many prior studies which lacked a theoretical framework to support their research, this study proposes a conceptual framework drawn from the education psychology literature for examining students' performance in the introductory accounting course.

Keywords

Citation

Mei Tan, L. and Laswad, F. (2008), "Impact of prior content and meta‐cognitive knowledge on students' performance in an introductory accounting course", Pacific Accounting Review, Vol. 20 No. 1, pp. 63-74. https://doi.org/10.1108/01140580810872852

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited