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Reaching for the Accounting Education Change Commission's recommendations through cooperative learning

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  • The Accounting Education Change Commission (AECC) is a consortium of concerned accounting professionals and accounting educators that advocates the redesigning of accounting curriculums in higher education. Traditionally accounting programs have focused on the technical aspects of the profession. Although technical competence is necessary for the profession, the AECC urges accounting curricula to provide students with experiences that will foster decision-making skills, communication skills and interpersonal skills. This study was an attempt to respond to the recommendations of the Accounting Education Change Commission through cooperative learning pedagogy. Related research suggests that employing particular elements of cooperative learning can improve intellectual skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills, learning to learn, active learning, achievement, attitudes and student evaluations of teachers. The data from this study indicate that while imposing the AECC's recommendations through the use of cooperative learning pedagogy most students attained high levels of achievement on unstructured problems requiring high levels of cognitive applications. However, student achievement was not as high as expected on structured problems requiring lower levels of cognitive applications. In addition, students' reactions to cooperative learning and implementation of the AECC's recommendations were mixed. Team work was not perceived by many students to be important in introductory accounting. However, learning to learn and active participation in the learning process were deemed important to students in introductory accounting. Furthermore, students evaluated the professor's teaching effectiveness significantly lower than did previous students taking introductory accounting from the same professor using traditional lecture-recitation methods. Imposing the AECC recommendations through cooperative learning techniques in introductory accounting in higher education clearly calls for further research and longer-term exposure to the changes in classroom pedagogy.
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