Advanced-Level Teaching Strategies In Accounting.
Students in an advanced-level program should be encouraged to acquire an understanding of accounting concepts and applications. They should have opportunities to participate in activities that require accounting analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Their understanding of accounting elements should be consolidated through activities that involve the arrangement of these elements in a pattern or structure.
This may involve the production of a communication, a plan of operation (research proposal), or a set of abstract relations (a scheme for classifying information). For example, given a case study that describes a simple business, students can be involved in preparing a report, with supporting rationale, prolong an accounting system that will satisfy the business’s needs. The case study employed could involve a range of business situations, from simple to complex, depending on students’ accounting knowledge at the particular point in the program.
General suggestions for the evaluation of student achievement may be found in the business studies policy docu ment, Policy for Program Planning and Delivery The following recommendations relate to all accounting courses. Additional suggestions for assessment are included in the “Teaching and Assessment Strategies” section for each accounting course. The criteria for assessing assignments, notebooks, reports, group work, and oral presentations should be made known to students in advance. As well, the overall weighting of each component of evaluation should be outlined to students at the beginning of the course. Assessment instruments in accounting should be designed to focus on the particular objective being measured.
For example, when students are asked to demonstrate their ability to complete a work sheet, the work sheet should be distributed along with a prepared trial balance. Students should not be asked to journalize and post transactions in order to prepare the trial balance before completing the work sheet. A knowledge of accounting principles is best evaluated through the use of criterion-referenced tests and examinations. The evaluation of skill performance, or of the speed and accuracy with which students can perform accounting functions, is best determined through problem-performance tests. In evaluating students’ responses to comprehensive accounting problems or tests, teachers must be careful that their evaluation strategies accurately reflect students’ abilities.
To avoid the distortion of marks that results from errors that students make early on in the solving of such problems, teachers can:
■ deduct a mark for the error when it first occurs, but not for its effect on subsequent material;
■ grade portions of the material at scheduled stages and permit students to make corrections before proceeding to the next stage;
■ use exercises in which each specific procedure or step in the accounting cycle is an entity in itself and must be dealt with independently. Assessment techniques and instruments should be care¬ fully designed to ensure that students are given opportunities to display the following:
■ a knowledge of common accounting terms, specific facts, methods and procedures, and basic concepts and principles. This requires an assessment of students’ memory of specific information or responses that they previously practiced in learning activities;
■ an understanding of accounting facts and principles. Students might be required to interpret verbal material, charts, and graphs; estimate and predict future consequences; justify methods and procedures; and detect similarities and differences;
■ the ability to apply previously learned knowledge and to demonstrate the correct use of a method or procedure in the solution of problems in which at least one element, either in the condition or in the solution required, must be new to the students;
■ an ability to break down material into its component parts to demonstrate an understanding of its organizational structure. A test question that requires students to analyse a given set of transaction types in terms of their effect on the balance sheet is an example of how this ability may be evaluated;
■ an ability to consolidate accounting elements to reveal a pattern or structure that was not previously clear. For example, students might produce a well-organized theme, a creative letter, or a well-organized speech that integrates learning from different areas into a plan for solving a problem;
■ an ability to judge the value of accounting material for a given purpose on the basis of definite criteria deter¬ mined by the teacher. An assignment that requires students to prepare a report on the acceptability of two sample financial statements is one way in which this ability might be evaluated. Since the learning objectives for general- and advanced- level courses are different, assessment practices should also be different. In general, evaluation practices in general-level accounting courses should focus on the application of accounting principles, while evaluation practices in advanced-level courses should be directed towards determining the degree of student understanding of particular accounting principles and substantive content.