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Unformatted text preview: An exploration of student failure on an undergraduate accounting programme of study LOUISE GRACIA* and ELLIS JENKINS University of Glamorgan, S Wales, UK Received: July 2001 Revised: October 2001 Accepted: November 2001 Abstract Academic failure creates nancial and emotional issues for students, with associated resource and performance implications for higher education institutions. The literature reveals that much of the work on student performance is quantitative, restricting understanding of the deeper feelings and perceptions of students towards their studies. This paper explores undergraduate student perform- ance from an experiential perspective, recognising the complexity and subjectivity of academic performance. Findings appear to highlight: the negative focus of reasoning underlying the choice of study; the impact of affect; the importance of the role of the tutor; the tutor expectations gap; levels of control and personal responsibility for learning; and patterns of participation as possible signi cant and important factors in understanding academic performance. Finally, the implications of the ndings are discussed and further research outlined in terms of developing a predictive model that could offer early identi cation of students who are susceptible to academic failure and establishing appropriate, proactive support strategies for such students. Keywords : Academic performance, accounting education, experiential perspective, semistructured interviews, student re ections on failure Introduction Academic success is of primary importance to students, their teachers and the higher educational institutions (HEIs) at which they study. Academic failure creates a major nancial and emotional burden for students as they struggle to come to terms with failure in both a personal and economic sense. It also has resource and performance implications for the HEIs, the relative performances of which are monitored and published in annual league tables. Academic failure impacts upon degree results and retention rates, both of which are used as key performance indicators to evaluate HEIs. Moreover, the problems of student failure are likely to be exacerbated by recent and current Government initiatives to increase participation rates and widen access, whilst at the same time reducing the nancial support offered to students via grants. This paper explores undergraduate academic performance through student experience. It seeks to understand the meaning and emphasis that students place on different aspects of their learning experience and hence provides an understanding of how experiential factors in uence academic performance on the second and nal years of study. In addition, by * Address for correspondence: Mrs. Louise Gracia, Business School, University of Glamorgan, Llantwit Road, Treforest, S Wales, CF37 1DL, UK. E-mail email@example.com k Accounting Education 11 (1), 93–107 (2002) Accounting Education ISSN 0963–9284 print/ISSN 1468–4489 online © 2002 Taylor & Francis Ltd http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals DOI: 10.1080/0963928021015329 0 adopting a qualitative approach, it attempts to address the de cit of deeper understanding...
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