1 Accounting Research Centre - ARC, Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University2 Department of Business Studies, Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University3 Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University4 Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University
The ability to provide sensible measures for learning outcomes in accounting education is under increased scrutiny. In this paper we use a learner perspective in auditing education, which reflects that some students taking accounting classes also are 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. Sensible measures are needed by educators in order to (1) chose teaching methods matching prerequisite skills among a heterogeneous student body, (2) assess the need for de-learning existing knowledge (i.e., cleaning the slate), and (3) being able to set up challenging yet fair exams for the total student body. 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 study uses a multitude of measures based on a hierarchical separation of intellectual skills originally suggested by Robert M. Gagné (1984). An instrument was developed to measure differences regarding learning outcomes in the context of an auditing course by posing a broad set of questions testing declarative knowledge and a broad range of intellectual skills from conceptual understanding to the use of higher-order-rules. This paper presents data collected in 1999-2000 including 75 graduate students representing both types of schema. The study provides evidence, which confirms an interrelationship between declarative and procedural knowledge in auditing. The hypotheses are tested by traditional ANOVAs, and have been confirmed by nonparametric tests. The findings suggest that students with auditing experience perform better than students without experience on procedural questions.