Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Poor, Frederick A.||Iliff, Kathryn (Professor of accountancy)

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Accountancy


Accounting--Study and teaching


The purpose of this study was to determine the extent of transfer of learning from high school first-year bookkeeping to first-semester elementary accounting and, further, to determine means by which this transfer could be improved. A comparative analysis was made between the performance of students enrolled in Elementary Accounting 121 at Northern Illinois University who had completed one year of high school bookkeeping and those students who had no such training. The comparison was based on the results of three hourly examinations, ten quiz scores, one final examination, and the final grade received in the course. There was also a comparison-made between the final accounting grade and the grades received by the same students in other courses taken at Northern Illinois University during this same semester. Interviews were conducted with high school instructors in order to attempt to determine means by which the transfer of learning could be improved. The three major areas of study were: (l) the textbook used in the bookkeeping instruction, (2) the qualifications of the bookkeeping instructors, and (3) the method used in teaching bookkeeping. Some of the more important conclusions reached were: 1. Students who have had bookkeeping training receive significantly higher grades in elementary accounting than do students who have not had bookkeeping training. 2. It appears that students who had completed at least one year of high school bookkeeping did better in elementary accounting basically because of the knowledge acquired in bookkeeping. 3. The textbook used in Bookkeeping I had no effect on performance in elementary accounting when the two were compared against one another. 4. There is a major difference in the teaching qualifications of bookkeeping instructors. 5. The methods used in presenting materials in Bookkeeping I and in the accelerated accounting courses are quite similar. 6. There is some transfer of learning from high school bookkeeping to college elementary accounting which tends to decrease in the latter part of the semester. As a result of the findings of this study and the research experience gained in the area, the following major recommendations are made: 1. The transfer of learning from Bookkeeping I to college elementary accounting could be improved if instructors would attempt to teach the "why" as well as the "how" of bookkeeping. 2. The content of the Bookkeeping I textbooks needs to be supplemented with discussions as to why the various steps are taken in order to improve the transfer of learning from Bookkeeping I to college elementary accounting. 3. Instructors should evaluate their academic training in the accounting field as well as their experience in the business world and attempt to strengthen areas that appear to be weak. 4. Further research should be conducted in order to determine the merits of bookkeeping enrollment by interest and ability rather than by class status.


Includes bibliographical references.


ix, 87 pages




Northern Illinois University

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