The Impact Of Course Scheduling On Student Success In Intermediate Accounting

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Linda G. Carrington

Keywords

Intermediate accounting, course schedule, spacing effect, accounting education, compressed schedule, intensive schedule, accounting student success

Abstract

Cognitive psychology research, as well as educational psychology research, suggests that learning is enhanced when new subjects are presented in spaced-out sessions rather than compressed into fewer, longer sessions (the “spacing effect”).  This would suggest that students should learn better when taking courses that are scheduled over longer time periods (two or three days per week over a long semester) rather than in an intensive (one day per week) or compressed (summer session) format.  This research investigates whether the spacing effect exists for students in Intermediate Accounting classes.  Specifically, this research examines student performance in Intermediate Accounting courses offered in four different scheduling formats including one, two, and three days per week over traditional long semesters, as well as during compressed four-week summer sessions.  A significant association between course schedule and student performance is found to exist.  The effect of student age and gender on this association is also explored.  Results identify one scheduling option which appears to be a particularly poor schedule for Intermediate Accounting, as well as particular characteristics of students who might be more likely to have difficulty with this schedule. Results should be of interest to university administrators responsible for making scheduling decisions, to faculty members teaching under different course schedules, and to individual students planning their class schedules. 

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