Performance and Retention over 3 Phases of Introductory Financial Accounting

Over the last decade, we have made significant changes in our approach to teaching introductory financial accounting with the goal of improving student performance, retention, and overall student satisfaction. Our approach has evolved through three phases:

 

  • 2011 - 2013: Traditional Approach - Lecture based course taught using a traditional book and approach. A heavy focus was placed on manually recording transactions with debits and credits. No video resources were used. 

  • 2014 - 2017: Fundamental Financial Accounting Concepts (FFAC) 9e - Flipped class with video resources. Still taught with debits and credits but financial statement impacts were emphasized as well. 

  • 2018: Introductory Financial Accounting for Business (IFAB) 1e - Flipped class with video resources. Same as FFAC but debits and credits were moved to the end of the course. Professor, course format, content, and exams questions were the same as in the FFAC course.

Grade Distributions in Introductory Financial Accounting
A
 
 
B
 
 
C
 
 
D/F/W
A
 
B
 
 
C
 
 
 
D/F/W
A
 
 
B
 
 
C
 
 
D/F/W

As indicated in the graph above, there was a significant increase in student performance and retention when we moved to FFAC. Students earning an A in the class increased from 18.6 to 22.6% (significant at). Further D/F/W rates dropped from 33.9% to 21% (significant at). It is difficult to determine exact identity exactly what caused the improvement as many variables differed across these approaches including instructor, course format, text, assignments, and exams. The only similarity across the two courses was the same content (i.e. learning objectives) were covered and tested.

 

There was a significant increase in student performance and retention when we moved to IFAB. Students earning an A in the class increased from 22.6% to 25.1% (significant at). Further D/F/W rates dropped from 21% to 18.6%. While the rate of improvement was less than the move to FFAC, the only factor that changed in IFAB was the placement of the coverage of debits and credits. In IFAB, Debits and Credits were covered at the end of the course after students were comfortable with how business events affect the accounting equation and financial statements. Click here to learn more about the IFAB approach.