Using a course redesign to address retention and performance issues in introductory accounting

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This article describes how one accounting program addressed declining retention rates and student performance issues with a focused course redesign of its introductory financial accounting course. The course redesign unites (a) the notion of promoting a thorough comprehension of "core competencies" rather than providing a cursory acquaintance with a broader variety of less critical ancillary topics; (b) an assortment of "continual review" techniques designed to maximize retaining the in-depth knowledge attained; and (c) utilization of a variety of stimulating and effectual technological enhancements to engage students and foster an active learning environment in the course. Anecdotal evidence gathered and limited empirical analysis suggests that the redesign endeavors have increased performance, enhanced student retention, and stimulated growth in the number of accounting majors relative to enrollment growth in the college of business. This approach, or any of several variants, can be adopted by other accounting programs to address similar issues. With many institutions currently facing declining enrollments and student retention along with accompanying financial consequences, our experience provides a timely potential remedy.




Spiceland, C. P., Spiceland, J. D., & Schaeffer, S. J. (2015). Using a course redesign to address retention and performance issues in introductory accounting. Journal of Accounting Education, 33(1), 50–68.

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