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Academic performance of pre-service accounting education students at a university of technology
Mdingi, Mvemve Shylock
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There is an increasing demand for chartered accountants in South Africa. But there is a significant decrease in the number of learners who choose Accounting in Grade 10. There is a low pass rate among those learners who choose Accounting for matriculation. The low pass rate may be caused by the fact that there are too few efficient and competent educators in the subject. This study is designed to investigate to what extent pre-identified factors affect the performance of pre-service accounting education students at a selected university of technology in South Africa. The pre-identified factors are motivation, learning environment, class attendance, learning approach, and the Fees Must Fall protests. This study is grounded within a social psychological theory known as self-determination theory (SDT). Deci and Ryan (2011:416) define SDT as an empirically derived theory of human motivation and personality in a social context that differentiates between autonomous and controlled motivation. SDT theory is about motivation: the variables in this research project are linked to motivation as the chief driver of academic performance. The research problem of this study was addressed using an explanatory mixed methods design. The data were collected in two phases: a quantitative and a qualitative phase. For the quantitative phase, a questionnaire and document analysis were used to collect data; for the qualitative phase, semi-structured interviews were conducted. A purposive sample was drawn for both quantitative and qualitative phases of the study; consisting of the second to fourth year level pre-service accounting education students. The quantitative data collected were analysed using the Statistic Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 25 computer software. Interviews were transcribed and ATLAS.ti software was used for coding the responses. The findings revealed that these pre-identified factors do have a direct influence upon the academic performance of pre-service accounting education students; both negatively and positively. The findings from this research could be used as a basis to refine the admission policy at the selected university. The findings could inform lecturers and students on how best to exploit the pre-identified factors to improve academic performance in Accounting.