Evaluating pedagogy in educating business majors: an empirical analysis of teaching accounting without debits and credits


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An upper-level intermediate accounting course taught at two large mid-west universities in the United States provides a natural experimental setting to examine whether teaching debits/credits in the introductory financial accounting course matters. Students in the upper-level course fall into two groups: those who learned debits/credits in the introductory course and those who weren’t. The performance of both groups is evaluated during the semester while they take the upper level accounting course. Regression results show that the prior knowledge of debits/credits offers only a mild advantage in the first mid-term exam, but not thereafter. Results also indicate that grade point average (standardized tests like ACT scores) are a good (not a good) predictor of the performance in the upper-level accounting class. These results suggest that teaching debits and credits in the introductory accounting course does not provide any advantage in learning the material of upper-level accounting course.

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    • Table 1. Data collection
    • Table 2. Summary statistics
    • Table 3. Regression results with the first midterm exam scores (EXAM1) as the dependent variable
    • Table 4. Regression results with the second midterm exam scores (EXAM2) as the dependent variable
    • Table 5. Regression results with the final exam scores (FINAL_EXAM) as the dependent variable