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Factors contributing toward student performance in a distance education accounting degree

K. Papageorgiou (Department of Accounting, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa)
Abdel K. Halabi (Federation University Australia Gipsplad Campus, Churchill, Australia)

Meditari Accountancy Research

ISSN: 2049-372X

Article publication date: 11 November 2014




The purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of five determinates of performance in students (N = 677) who completed three years of financial accounting to obtain a Bachelor of Accounting Science (BCompt) degree by distance education through the University of South Africa.


Regression analysis is used on three yearly measures of performance with five independent variables (age, gender, prior accounting knowledge, mathematics background and academic aptitude).


Results show that mathematics background and academic aptitude are both significantly associated with student performance, throughout the financial accounting subjects. Prior accounting knowledge is also important in the first year of study but not thereafter.

Research limitations/implications

Prior research has found that other factors may influence student performance, and future studies which include these variables will add to these findings.

Practical implications

The results of this study have important implications for instructors, students and career advisers, particularly as research linking various factors with performance in accounting subjects over the length of a degree is limited.


The current study considers the determinants of student performance over three financial accounting years (rather than one year or one subject) and from a distance education perspective. As distance education becomes a more important delivery method of study in the future, these results have important implications.



The authors would like to thank the University of South Africa for permission to use student data and the financial assistance provided to assist in completion of the research paper.


Papageorgiou, K. and K. Halabi, A. (2014), "Factors contributing toward student performance in a distance education accounting degree", Meditari Accountancy Research, Vol. 22 No. 2, pp. 211-223.



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