A contextual investigation into selected factors associated with student performance in Financial Accounting 1 at a South African institution

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

In South Africa, applicants to Higher Education come from diverse socio-economic, language and educational backgrounds. Within this context many researchers (e.g. Yeld 2001; Cliff 2003) suggest that school-leaving results may not adequately reflect the entry-level abilities of many students to be successful in Higher Education. Against this backdrop, the matric aggregate and the matric results in Accounting or Mathematics comprise the main selection criteria for admission to three Accounting National Diploma courses at the Cape Technikon. The main question that this study therefore attempted to answer was whether matric Accounting HG or SG is a good predictor of success in Financial Accounting 1. The following sub-questions were also asked: Is performance in Financial Accounting 1 linked to other academic variables, like matric aggregate and matric Mathematics HG or SG, and to other measureable influences like home language, gender, and age? Using the ex post facto research method, all the aforementioned data was collected from the technikon records. Eight null hypotheses were formulated and tested for approximately 300 students registered for Financial Accounting 1 during each of the years 1998-2002. Based on the results of the ANOVA analyses, Mann-Whitney tests (Maths SG), t-tests (gender) and Pearson product-moment correlation (age), it was concluded that for all five years there is a statistically significant relationship between the Financial Accounting 1 marks of students and the variables Matric Accounting HG scores, Matric Accounting SG scores, Matric aggregate scores and Home language, although the latter result is possibly borderline significant and might need further investigation. The higher the students' above-mentioned matric scores, the higher investigation. The higher the students' above-mentioned matric scores, the higher the subsequent Financial Accounting 1 marks are likely to be.

Includes bibliographical references (leaves 107-114).