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The Risks and Opportunities Associated with Weak Arithmatic Skills of Accounting Students

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Document pages: 6 pages

Abstract: This paper explored the authors concerns about students enrolled in their introductory accounting course. Anecdotal evidence suggested that students struggle with basic arithmetic concepts that underlie basic business transactions even though their math placement and ACT scores are high. A survey of 125 students in a first accounting course was conducted in the spring of 2010 to assess the basic arithmetical skills. The results indicated that the ACT scores and math placement tests do not reveal weakness in basic arithmetic. We find that faculty and students will experience frustration due to the impaired arithmetic ability. By taking for granted that students possess basic skills in arithmetic faculty will exclude exercises from the curriculum that will build the kind of arithmetic abilities students need to think on their feet about basic business transactions. We conclude by arguing that making curricular accommodations to cope with the deficit in arithmetic is not in the student s best interest. A competitive advantage for students can be created by addressing the deficit head on rather than adjusting the curriculum to work around the problem.

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