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Can introductory financial accounting grades predict student choice to major in accounting?

Sarah Dyce (Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Canada)
Camillo Lento (Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Canada)
Claudio Pousa (Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Canada)

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education

ISSN: 2050-7003

Article publication date: 17 August 2020

Issue publication date: 7 June 2021

134

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

Longitudinal data were collected from four cohorts of students registered at a Canadian university. The main hypothesis is tested by estimating a logistic regression.

Findings

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.

Practical implications

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.

Originality/value

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.

Keywords

Citation

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

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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