DIRECT MEASURE OF ASSESSING STUDENTS LEARNING OUTCOMES IN AN ONLINE ACCOUNTING COURSE: SIGNATURE ASSIGNMENT
This research will analyze the results of a direct measure in assessing student learning outcomes in an online accounting course in the the Bachelor of Science, Major in Accountancy program at National University. This will include assessment of the student learning outcomes using signature assignment. Rubrics will be used in grading the assignment. This direct measure will be using financial data of actual government entities to enhance learning through the application of theoretical knowledge and skills to real- world setting.
The signature assignment is being administered at the end of the course in ACC434, Accounting of Governmental and Non-Profit Entities. This assignment requires 8 to 12 page paper written report. It entails choosing a city of medium to large size 700,000 to over one million in population. It will include a critical evaluation of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) and how the city could improve its reporting. The assessment of the CAFR which will entail responses to the following questions: (1) In the review the CAFR, are there items found or not found in the document? (2) Does the City comply with GASB34? (3) What statements compare the budget to actual? (4) What is included in the 3 sections of the CAFR? (5) What detail is available in the notes to the statement? (6) What debt information is available? (7) What are the contents of the MD&A and the Statistical information in the CAFR? (8) What do you think of the CAFR overall?
The period to be analyzed is from July 2011 to March 2012. The program learning outcome to be assessed is: “Apply generally accepted accounting principles to measure and report information related to accounting for the assets, liabilities, equities, revenues and expenses, and cash flows of business enterprises and governmental and not-for-profit entities.” The focus of this assignment is the critical analysis of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) of a city in the United States. The target is for students to achieve a score of at least 75% out of 100% in the Signature Assignment. Four (4) online classes will be analyzed. Four (4) strings are being offered in the Bachelor of Science in Accountancy per academic year. The last offering is on April 2012 which is not covered in this analysis since classes are still in progress. Thirty (30) out of 650 points is the maximum points available for this project which is approximately 5% of the course grade. The results of the analysis will be presented on a table and will be discussed and interpreted. The term “Signature Assignment” will be defined and advantages and disadvantages of this direct measure will be discussed. Signature assignments have the potential to help determine whether student learning reflects the ways of thinking and doing of disciplinary experts. When multiple sections of the same course are offered by multiple instructors with varied pedagogy, this assignment enables programs to collect common data across the course sections for program evaluation and review.