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Article
Publication date: 6 December 2018

Marina Kirstein, Stephen Coetzee and Astrid Schmulian

The purpose of this paper is to explore differences in South African accounting students’ perceptions of professional skills developed in an undergraduate accounting…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore differences in South African accounting students’ perceptions of professional skills developed in an undergraduate accounting program. South Africa has a history of socio-economic inequality and racial injustice, leading to factors outside the classroom impacting educational outcomes. In particular, South African classes are heterogeneous, reflecting a diversity of race and language groups and students from differing schooling backgrounds. These differences necessitate differentiated instruction.

Design/methodology/approach

To explore for differences in perceptions, data were collected via questionnaires and differences between demographic variables such as school, race and language were considered, while controlling for gender. A focus group was also hosted to further explore findings.

Findings

Students from better quality schools agreed less strongly than those from poorer quality schools that the education program developed their professional skills. Students from better quality schools may have developed some of the professional skills during their schooling, requiring less to be developed at university. African students, though, agreed less strongly than white students from similar quality schools that they had developed professional skills. A focus group suggested that African students place less emphasis on professional skills development than on technical skills, given their lack of exposure to professional skills through mentors (parents, teachers, etc.) who never developed professional skills during their own compromised education under Apartheid.

Originality/value

Understanding the differences in the perceptions of professional skill development in a heterogeneous classroom can assist instructors in adopting differentiated instruction approaches to enable all students to develop professional skills. It could also assist future employers of these graduates to differentiate their development strategies during workplace training.

Details

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, vol. 9 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-3896

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 13 September 2011

Astrid Schmulian and Stephen Coetzee

Other business education literature, particularly in the field of economics, has developed theories in respect of the reasons for non‐attendance of lectures and the…

Abstract

Purpose

Other business education literature, particularly in the field of economics, has developed theories in respect of the reasons for non‐attendance of lectures and the positive correlation between class attendance and academic performance. The aim of this paper is to determine the generalizability of these theories to a large accounting class in South Africa.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is a differentiated replication of the study by Paisey and Paisey, who provided initial evidence of the generalizability of these theories to a small accounting class in Scotland, employing a research questionnaire and the analysis of quantitative and qualitative data.

Findings

The reasons given for the non‐attendance of lectures generally correspond with those previously reported. Certain differences that are identified are likely a result of specific country or economic factors. This study found a significant positive correlation between class attendance and academic performance; however, the correlation is low and not very meaningful. Further analysis reveals some difference between language groups suggesting that culture and ethnicity may have an effect on the relationship between class attendance and academic performance.

Originality/value

This paper raises questions as to the generalizability of prior research on class attendance and academic performance. The findings of this study suggest other factors, including students' economic, cultural and ethnic backgrounds, are likely to affect associations between class attendance and academic performance.

Details

Accounting Research Journal, vol. 24 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1030-9616

Keywords

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