Scandinavian Working Papers in Business Administration

Accounting Research Center Working Papers,
University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Business Studies

No A-2006-01: Explaining Differences in Learning Outcomes in Auditing Education – The Importance of Background Factors, Prior Knowledge and Intellectual Skills

Claus Holm () and Niels Steenholdt
Additional contact information
Claus Holm: Department of Business Studies, Aarhus School of Business, Postal: The Aarhus School of Business, Fuglesangs Allé 4, 8210 Aarhus V, Denmark
Niels Steenholdt: Department of Business Studies, Aarhus School of Business, Postal: The Aarhus School of Business, Fuglesangs Allé 4, 8210 Aarhus V, Denmark

Abstract: In this paper we use a learner perspective on learning outcomes which reflects that some students taking accounting classes are also provided with on-the-job training in accounting firms. Hence knowledge about learning outcomes for different groups of students is essential information for educators as well as the accounting profession. This paper extends prior research on the role of declarative and procedural knowledge in performing auditing tasks. Measuring learning outcomes is a complex matter requiring sensible measures for both declarative knowledge (ability to verbalize pertinent facts or processes) and procedural knowledge (intellectual skills). The performance of 75 graduate accounting students representing both types of schema is examined. The findings suggest that differences in learning outcomes may be attributed to differences in student background and prior knowledge (auditing experience). The findings also suggest that the importance of prior knowledge is mitigated by the intellectual skills required for a particular task.

Keywords: leaning outcomes; auditing; declarative knowledge; procedural knowledge; intellectual skills; measurement; work experience

54 pages, October 26, 2006

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