An Experiment Examining the Effects of Transaction Scope and Accounting Equation Emphasis on Students Learning to Journalize
33 Pages Posted: 22 Dec 2009 Last revised: 7 Nov 2010
Date Written: December 20, 2009
This study examines the learning effects of different methods that are used to teach transaction analysis and recording. In particular, we investigate whether student performance in journalizing transactions depends on the scope of transactions to which students are initially introduced and the extent to which students explicitly consider the effects of transactions on the accounting equation. Education research suggests that these differences in teaching methods represent different levels of instructional scaffolds, which can lead to different levels of performance when students journalize transactions. To test these effects, we conducted an experiment that randomly assigned students to one of six learning conditions that varied the scope of transactions (restricted versus expanded) and the requirement to document accounting equation effects (before or after each journal entry, or not at all). Analysis of student test scores indicates that student performance was greatest when they had initially learned from a restricted scope of transactions and had learned to document accounting equation effects when preparing each journal entry. The learning benefits from initially restricting the scope of transactions persisted when students analyzed an extended set of transactions more than a week after their initial training session. The learning benefits from requiring students to document accounting equation effects were not evident in these subsequent tests. Implications for accounting instructors and education researchers are discussed.
Keywords: Accounting cycle, journal entries, teaching methods, textbooks, scaffolding
JEL Classification: A20
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation