A programme to address emerging problems in auditing education in Australian universities

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Abstract:

This case study reports on the development of a programme to overcome three emerging problems in teaching undergraduate auditing in Australian universities. The first emerging problem was that without an increase in class time, effectively an increasing number of technical standards needed to be covered in addition to conceptual material. Consequently the academics involved felt that auditing standards were not being covered adequately and that graduates' knowledge of them was deficient. The second emerging problem was that the student entry requirements for many Australian universities have been falling, yet the authorities do not want pass rates to fall. This suggested that a different educational strategy was needed. The third emerging problem involved the time constraint on academic staff, namely a demand for increased research output despite having courses and a student population which ostensibly require more teaching. While there were a number of possible educational strategies that could have been used to address the first and second problems, it was considered that some of them would have exacerbated the third problem. Thus the academics involved in this project sought to improve course standards and at the same time free up some of their time for research. Accordingly they developed a programme involving independent learning, a bank of multiple choice questions, a computer-based education programme and computer-marked testing. The formative evaluation of the programme they developed sought to determine via questionnaire and analysis of student test scores whether the programme was acceptable to them and their students in terms of predetermined criteria. It is acknowledged that other programmes may also produce acceptable results. The formative evaluation showed that the combination of tried techniques satisfactorily solved a new combination of problems in an Australian university. Similar sets of problems may be present or emerge in universities in other countries and so the information contained in this report may prove useful to other accounting academics.
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