STUDENTS PERCEPTIONS OF THEIR LEARNING IN A FINANCE AND ACCOUNTING DEGREE: HOW DO THEY INFLUENCE ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT?
The process of European convergence and the creation of the European Higher Education Area have led to new degree courses being offered at the University of Granada (Spain). In this new context, it is essential to create an environment that facilitates high-quality learning. In this regard, the views of students on the teaching process form an essential part of the retention, permanence, promotion and improvement of their learning.
Research to analyse students’ perceptions of the learning process is of special relevance due to the crucial importance of their experience to the success of the university institution. Enhancing and ensuring quality in higher education is increasingly linked with students’ experiences, insofar as they may suggest changes and innovations to improve the quality of university teaching, in both the short and the long term.
These considerations are of vital concern in business and management studies, as students’ motivations for choosing subjects in this area are often more influenced by the job prospects and career considerations than by the intrinsic attraction of the degree subjects. This fact may impact on different aspects of students’ learning, such as commitment or performance. Moreover, learning problems are aggravated in degree courses, as is the case at the University of Granada, where large numbers of students are enrolled in each group, dropout rates are high and exam failure obliges many students to re-take subject studies.
In view of these considerations, this paper analyses the relationship between students’ academic performance in subjects forming part of the degree in Finance and Accounting offered at the University of Granada and these students’ perceptions of aspects of the teaching-learning process, such as commitment to learning and the perceived usefulness of the course; also taken into account are objective data, such as the students’ age, sex and final grade obtained. Our analysis of the correlations among the variables analysed shows that the outcome of student learning, as measured by the final grade, is related to the students’ level of interest in the subject and their participation in class activities. However, no such relationship was found with other variables representing the level of student engagement, such as class attendance or weekly hours of study. On the other hand, the perceived usefulness of the methodology, the study materials and the course content all had a positive influence on students’ academic achievement.
Multiple regression analysis was performed, using the final grade as the dependent variable, all the other study variables as independent variables, and the students’ age and sex as control variables. This analysis showed that the final grade is related, significantly and positively, with students' perceptions of the usefulness of the subject, and also with their level of participation in class activities and their age.