Leaping over the perceptual threshold in accounting courses: embracing sustainable assessment and learning design

Nicholas McGuigan, Thomas Kern

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Introductory accounting subjects are characterised by certain topics which have traditionally proven challenging for students, and this has often resulted in negative perceptions within the discipline (Weil, 1989; Sharma, 1997; Lucas, 2000, 2001; Mladenovic, 2000; Lucas and Mladenovic, 2006). Accounting educators need to embrace innovative means of assessment that challenge preconceptions of the discipline, and encourage students to develop strong interpersonal and analytical skills to promote sustainable learning outcomes. Drawing on reflective educational theory, this paper describes the introduction of a reflective j ournalling exercise in a business information course within an accounting program. The exercise was designed to increase student engagement with course-related material and assist in the development of transferable learning skills. The paper describes the context within which the research took place, the nature ofthe course, its learning objectives and educational philosophy, and details of the reflective journal assessment. The reflective journals and essays of 131 students were coded using five categories of advantages derived from the literature. Extracts of individual reflective essays provide insight into students' perceptions of the usefulness of the learning exercise. The findings of the study suggest that accounting educators can use this learning resource to address negative preconceptions, engage learners and assist in the development oftransferable skills such as critical reflection, self-motivation, learning ownership and meta-cognition.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes
EventAssessment: Sustainability, Diversity and Innovation - Sydney Australia
Duration: 18 Nov 201019 Nov 2010


ConferenceAssessment: Sustainability, Diversity and Innovation
CitySydney Australia


  • accounting education
  • embedding generic learning skills
  • innovative assessment
  • reflective journalling
  • student perceptions


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