Improving retention for principles of accounting students: Ultra-short online tutorials for motivating effort and improving performance

  • Sargent C
  • Faye Borthick A
  • Lederberg A
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As student learning outcomes and retention receive more attention in higher education, failure rates in principles of accounting courses, gate-keeper courses for business majors, are coming under scrutiny. This study shows promising results from use of a learning innovation, ultra-short online videos, for addressing three common reasons for poor performance: intimidating class environments, low aptitude, and low motivation. For students at all achievement levels, tutorial use rates were above 60 percent, even though there was no course credit for viewing them. Students using the tutorials had significantly lower course drop rates and better pass rates. Tutorial use was correlated with higher exam scores, although the effect was moderate. Based on analysis of the two-year periods before and after implementation, the use of tutorials was correlated with higher course grades. Tutorial use remained at high levels two years after implementation even without instructors encouraging students to use them.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Aptitude
  • Intimidation
  • Motivation
  • Online tutorial
  • Principles of accounting
  • Retention
  • Self-efficacy
  • Supplemental instruction

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  • Carol Springer Sargent

  • A. Faye Borthick

  • Amy R. Lederberg

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