Social cognitive career theory (“SCCT”) suggests that positive feedback can influence educational choices. Introductory courses often provide students with their first opportunity to obtain feedback in a given discipline. As a result, SCCT hypothesizes that introductory courses grades will impact a student's decision to major in a given discipline. The purpose of this paper is to explore this hypothesis in the accounting domain.
Longitudinal data were collected from four cohorts of students registered at a Canadian university. The main hypothesis is tested by estimating a logistic regression.
A significant positive relationship is found between a student's introductory financial accounting (“IFA”) course grade and their decision to major in accounting. This decision to major in the discipline is not found to be affected by various student (e.g. biological sex or age) or instructor (e.g. whether the instructor holds a CPA designation or not) characteristics.
This study supports seminal and enduring research that emphasizes the IFA course as a gateway into the accounting major. As a result, educators should consider these findings when designing their IFA courses and the related student supports embedded within the IFA course.
Prior literature offers conflicting results on the relationship between IFA grades and student's choice to major in accounting. This study relies upon a theoretical framework, SCCT, to settle the debate. This study further extends the prior literature by exploring the impact of various student and instructor characteristics on the relationship between IFA grades and student's choice to major in accounting.
Dyce, S., Lento, C. and Pousa, C. (2021), "Can introductory financial accounting grades predict student choice to major in accounting?", Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 871-888. https://doi.org/10.1108/JARHE-05-2020-0148
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