Cognitive preparation of NCS (grades 10-12) accounting learners for studies at a University of Technology
This study focuses on the cognitive preparation of National Curriculum Statement (NCS) (Grades 10 – 12) Accounting learners for studies at a University of Technology (UoT). The purpose was to determine to what extent NCS cognitively prepares Accounting learners for studies at a UoT, and whether there is a difference in the extent to which NCS (pre-2014) and CAPS (2014) cognitively prepare learners for the first-year National Higher Certificate in Accounting and Financial Information Systems at a selected University of Technology (UoT). This study is contextually situated within the curriculum theories developed by Basil Bernstein‘s ‘code theory’ in the sociology of education. The theoretical framework for this thesis draws on the work of David Conley’s redefining college readiness, in which he argues that Higher Education (HE) readiness is a multi-faceted concept comprising numerous variables. Cognitive preparation for HE Accounting studies is reviewed in terms of the educational objectives of the cognitive domain of Benjamin Bloom. A mixed method approach for the research design was employed. The quantitative approach entailed completion and analysis of questionnaires by first-year Accounting students at a selected UoT to ascertain learners’ levels of Accounting competence as envisioned by the NCS (Grades 10 – 12). Marks for the Grade 12 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examination in Accounting were obtained so that these examination marks could be compared with students’ levels of Accounting competence and marks at the end of the first term (March). The qualitative approach entailed document analyses of the Accounting FET (Grades 10 – 12) curriculum, the curriculum of the National Higher Certificate, the NSC Accounting examination of 2014, and the National Higher Certificate in Accounting March 2015 assessment, as well as interviews with the Accounting 1 lecturers at a selected UoT. Data revealed that the NCS (Grades 10 – 12) Accounting curriculum (formal or intended curriculum) adequately prepares learners cognitively for studies at a UoT. There is little evidence that CAPS prepares learners better for tertiary studies than students not trained according to CAPS. There is a statistically significant relationship between the mark obtained in the NSC, the mark in the questionnaire and the formal assessment in March. There are, however, various other factors that contribute to academic success or failure and drop-out in HE. Findings from this study suggest that the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and universities could work more closely together in various subject groups to ensure these challenges are met and that universities provide feedback to the DBE on whether the changes implemented are making a difference to the quality of first-year students who enter university.