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Relative Performance of English Second Language Students in University Accounting Courses

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Document pages: 8 pages

Abstract: This paper explores the relative performances of Native English Speaking ( "NES ") students and English Second Language ( "ESL ") students in accounting courses at a large urban state university. Based upon a longitudinal study, we conclude that the relative performance between NES and ESL students depends upon the particular course being evaluated and its order in the sequence of courses to graduation. The further along in the sequence, the more likely the ESL students will significantly outperform the NES students. In Introductory Financial Accounting, the first course in the sequence, NES students significantly outperform ESL students. We attribute this to ESL students difficulties with English, new learning teaching styles, lack of necessary academic skills plus culture shock. In Managerial Accounting and Intermediate Financial Accounting I, the differences are not significant which we credit to the ESL students work on their English vocabulary, the new learning teaching styles, and the necessary academic skills to "catch up " to the NES students. Assuming that our conclusion is correct, however, the full effect of this effort on the part of the ESL students is not completely felt until Intermediate Financial Accounting II and Cost Accounting. In those two courses, ESL students significantly outperform NES students. We conclude that this represents the culmination of the efforts by the ESL students. In addition to our primary objective, we also investigated the use of the relative performances of the NES and ESL students as a possible assessment of a university s success, or lack of thereof, in meeting the needs of ESL students. We concluded that this was both feasible and a reasonable approach to assessment.

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