Assurance of Learning Report

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The Ohio State University

FISHER COLLEGE OF BUSINESS

Department of Accounting and Management Information Systems

Master of Accounting Program

Assurance of Learning Report

Prepared by

The Faculty of the Department of Accounting

and Management Information Systems

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T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S

Program Mission Statement 2

Vision Statement 2

Program and Curriculum Management 3

Desired Learning Goals 3

Learning Goal Measurement and Assessment 6

Closing the Loop: Use of the AMIS Assessment of Learning Outcomes 14

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PROGRAM MISSION STATEMENT

Development and management of the Master of Accounting Program is guided by two

documents approved by the AMIS Department Faculty when the program was re-established in 2002—a mission statement and a vision statement. The mission statement is as follows:

“The primary purpose of the Master of Accounting (or “MAcc”) program is to prepare its students for lifelong learning and rewarding careers. The MAcc program’s learning philosophy emphasizes fundamental accounting concepts, theories, and skills, which students can apply to a wide variety of problem situations throughout their careers.” This statement is included in the Master of Accounting Program segment of the “Handbook of the Graduate Studies Committee: Graduate Programs in Accounting and Management Information Systems,” (September 10, 2002, p. 10). The Handbook is the principal governance document for the graduate accounting programs administered by the Department of Accounting and Management Information Systems. Matters specific to the Master of Accounting Program are addressed in an appendix to the Handbook.

VISION STATEMENT

The vision statement for the MAcc Program is presented below and is also included in the “Handbook.” The vision statement is viewed as a direct extension of the program mission

statement and identifies four key elements of the MAcc curriculum: (1) long-term focus, (2) skill development, (3) relationship to other disciplines, and (4) flexibility.

Master of Accounting Program Vision Statement

The AMIS faculty’s vision for the Master of Accounting Program reflects a set of values that the faculty holds about accounting education and about graduate education more broadly. These values are described in the following paragraphs.

Long-term focus. The AMIS faculty believes that accounting education should not be focused on narrow, technical and short-term objectives, such as passing the CPA examination. Rather, “learning to learn” and preparation for a productive long-term career should be paramount. Accounting rules continuously change, so learning only what one needs in the immediate future guarantees obsolescence. We envision a learning philosophy that emphasizes fundamental concepts, theories and skills which students can apply to a wide variety of problem situations throughout their careers. We believe that exposing students to cutting-edge ideas in the accounting discipline and in other related fields is an excellent way to prepare them for the longer term because such ideas consistently evolve into practice. Further, this long-term focus should be sufficiently bolstered by examples of current practice to prepare students for entry-level positions and passage of the CPA examination.

Skill development. Accounting education should provide opportunities for students to develop their skills in (1) oral and written communication, (2) computer technology, (3) critical thinking and analytical reasoning, (4) teamwork, and (5) applied research on accounting-related issues. The skill development component of education complements the long-term view of accounting education expressed above. Further, our vision for the Master of Accounting Program is that each student will improve these skills if they are consistently exercised across the curriculum.

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Relationships with other disciplines. We believe that our accounting programs should expose students more thoroughly to other disciplines and related fields of study. In recent decades, accounting firms have greatly diversified their practices beyond compliance work to include a wide range of consultative services. To enhance the business advisory skills of our graduates, the AMIS faculty believes that we must strengthen the non-accounting backgrounds of the Master of Accounting students and integrate multidisciplinary perspectives within the program.

Flexibility. Because the field of accounting is dynamic and multifaceted, the AMIS faculty believes that any educational program should be flexible enough to prepare students for a broad range of career options. Flexibility permits students to work with their advisors to design programs that fit their particular interests and career objectives. At the same time, flexibility should foster a dynamic and responsive curriculum and a faculty willing to experiment with innovative teaching methods and approaches.

Beyond these values that are the primary drivers of the Master of Accounting Program, the Program must meet the requirements for professional masters degree programs (“tagged” degrees) as administered by the Graduate School of The Ohio State University. Further, where possible, the program should be designed efficiently to make use of existing resources, particularly with respect to course offerings.” (Executive Summary of the Graduate Program

Proposal for the Master of Accounting Degree, December 14, 1999, with minor revisions)

PROGRAM AND CURRICULUM MANAGEMENT

The Master of Accounting (MAcc) Program and its curriculum are administered by a faculty committee composed of all members of the AMIS faculty who teach AMIS courses for MAcc students. The MAcc Committee is assisted by an Academic Program Director, who is a member of the AMIS Faculty, and an Administrative Program Director, who is a member of the staff in the College Graduate Programs Office.

The MAcc Committee is chaired by the Academic Director of the MAcc Program; the Academic Director also has primary responsibility for administering financial aid for MAcc students. The MAcc Committee operates as an arm of the AMIS Graduate Studies Committee; the Academic Director serves as a member of the Graduate Studies Committee. The MAcc Committee usually meets formally once per quarter to discuss operating and curriculum matters and to make related decisions and recommendations to the Department Chair and to the Department Faculty. Minutes of these committee meetings are prepared by the Academic Director who also makes frequent reports at meetings of the entire faculty of the department (see minutes of department meetings). The operations of the program (including student recruiting, student records, program

publications, and special events) are managed by the Administrative Director of the MAcc Program housed in the Fisher College Graduate Program Office (GPO). The Administrative Director supervises other College staff members who assist in student advising, program publications, and planning various special events (e.g., student receptions and

pre-commencement ceremonies). The Administrative Director also supervises several graduate-student assistants (GAs) who assist in graduate-student recruiting.

DESIRED LEARNING GOALS

In the early years of its operation, the Master of Accounting Committee focused on developing new courses, policy documents and student support materials. Data was collected from other programs but the Committee endeavored to be primarily responsive to its mission and vision statements and to input from students through the exit exam, which is required of all students, as

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well as through informal communication. Beginning in 2006, stimulated by a desire to better understand the degree to which the curriculum was meeting aspirations and also by the

approaching date for reaccreditation, the Committee set about identifying a set of learning goals that would be consistent with the program’s mission and vision statements. The result of this process was the identification of four desired learning goals for MAcc students:

• Learning Goal 1: Graduates will be competent in and able to apply the basic technical and institutional knowledge of the discipline of accounting.

• Learning Goal 2: Graduates will understand the conceptual foundations of accounting and be able to engage in rigorous critical thinking.

• Learning Goal 3: Graduates will demonstrate competence in general communication skills and analytical reasoning.

• Learning Goal 4: Graduates will understand the ethical responsibilities of an accounting professional.

The relationship between these four learning goals and the courses in the curriculum is outlined in the following table:

PROGRAM GOAL LOCATION WITHIN CURRICULUM

1. Graduates will be competent in and able to apply the basic technical and institutional knowledge of the discipline of accounting.

Throughout the curriculum but this goal is strongly emphasized in AMIS 804, Professional Research in Accounting, which is required of all MAcc students.

2. Graduates will understand the conceptual foundations of accounting and be able to engage in rigorous critical thinking.

Throughout the curriculum but this goal is strongly emphasized in AMIS 803, Foundations of Accounting, which is required of all MAcc students.

3. Graduates will demonstrate competence in general communication skills and analytical reasoning.

Throughout the curriculum. AMIS 803, Professional Research in Accounting, includes multiple case analysis assignments.

4. Graduates will understand the ethical responsibilities of an accounting professional.

Throughout the curriculum. The auditing courses, at least one of which is taken by most students, place particular emphasis on matters related to this goal.

In keeping with the emphasis on flexibility in the design in individual student programs, as stated in the MAcc Program Vision statement, the MAcc Program has only three required courses: (1) AMIS 804 (Professional Research), which is taken in the autumn (first) quarter of the program; (2) AMIS 803 (Foundations of Accounting) is taken in the winter (second) quarter of the program; and (3) AMIS 834 (Corporate Information Systems Management). In addition, the program offers a rich array of graduate courses in accounting and also access to second-year MBA courses. Details are presented the Master of Accounting Program brochure and also on the program’s website at fisher.osu.edu/macc.

The central issue in most curriculum and learning goal discussions within the MAcc Program Committee has been the balance between conceptual and institutional/ professional content, the concern being that a reasonably even-handed balance be struck.

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RELATIONSHIP OF MISSION/VISION TO LEARNING GOALS

Table I below displays the relationships between these four learning goals and the key elements of the curriculum as set forth in the mission and vision statements.

TABLE I

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MISSION/VISION STATEMENT AND LEARNING GOALS

LEARNING GOALS MISSION/VISION STATEMENTS Technical and Institutional Knowledge Conceptual Foundations Communication Skills and Analytical Reasoning Ethical Responsibilities

Long-Term Focus Primary Goal Primary Goal Secondary Goal

Skill Development Secondary Goal Primary Goal

Relationship to

Other Disciplines Primary Goal Secondary Goal

Flexibility Primary Goal Secondary Goal

The first key element is “long-term focus” which means a curriculum that emphasizes “learning to learn” and preparation for a productive long-term career; primary goals in this domain are the development of both conceptual and technical institutional knowledge and, secondarily, a sense of professional ethical responsibilities. The second key element is “skill development” with primary emphasis on communication and analytical reasoning and, secondarily, facility with use of regulatory and professional data sources. The third key element is an appreciation for

accounting’s “relationship to other disciplines” with primary emphasis on the conceptual interface with economics and, secondarily, appreciation for the legal/regulatory environment in which accounting functions. The fourth key element is “flexibility” which means a curriculum that prepares students for a broad range of career options and permits students to design programs that fit their particular interests and career objectives; primary learning goals in this domain are the development of technical and institutional knowledge and, secondarily, the development of conceptual knowledge.

The identification of goal measures proved to be more challenging than was initially thought and passed through several rounds of revision and consultation with College-level advisers. The MAcc Academic Director also participated in and learned from regular meetings with other program directors/chairs of the College.

Table II summarizes the evidence used to assess the degree to which our students achieve the four goals. The table lists the several learning sub-goals or objectives for each learning goal and describes the evidence used to measure them.

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TABLE II

SUMMARY OF MACC PROGRAM ASSESSMENT PLAN MAcc Learning Goals

1. Graduates will be competent in and able to apply the basic technical and institutional knowledge of the discipline of accounting.

2. Graduates will understand the conceptual foundations of accounting and be able to engage in rigorous critical thinking.

3. Graduates will demonstrate competence in general communication skills and analytical reasoning.

4. Graduates will understand the ethical responsibilities of an accounting professional.

Data

Learning Goals and Objectives

Where

Measured How Measured

Administration (X), Analysis (Y) & Implementation (Z) Au 07 Wi 08 Sp 08 Su 08 Au 08 Direct 2A. AMIS 803 Course-Embedded Assessment: Assignment

No. 3

X Y Z

2B. Exit Exam Stand-Alone Testing: Exit Exam Conceptualization Rubric

X Y Z

3A. AMIS 804 Course-Embedded Assessment: Participation Score

X Y Z

3B. AMIS 804 Course-Embedded Assessment: Peer Assessment

X Y Z

3C. Exit Exam Stand-Alone Testing: Exit Exam Written Communication Rubric

X Y Z

4. Exit Exam Stand-Alone Testing: Exit Exam Ethics Rubric

X Y Z

Indirect 1A. AMIS 803 Course-Embedded Assessment: Team Assignments - Problem Set no. 2

X Y Z

1B. AMIS 804 Course-Embedded Assessment: Team Assignments - Mini Cases

X Y Z

2C. AMIS 804 Course-Embedded Assessment: Team Assignments - Case Analyses

X Y Z

The principal bases for the measurement of the learning objectives are student assignments in two of the required courses, AMIS 803 and AMIS 804, and student responses to questions on the exit exam required of all MAcc graduates. The exam is composed entirely of essay questions (see appendix); students prepare the exam on a take-home basis near the end of their third (spring) quarter in the program. Student responses to the broadly worded essay questions on the exam were reviewed in the manner described below to assess student achievement of learning goals and objectives.

LEARNING GOAL MEASUREMENT AND ASSESSMENT

As a benchmark for achievement of the four learning goals, the MAcc Program Committee has set as a standard that approximately 45% of students should exceed expectations, approximately 50% should meet expectations and that no more than 5% should fall below expectations for any

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learning measure. It is important to note that we use the word “expectation” in the sense of a mid-point measure and not in the sense of a standard of acceptability. All measures are converted to a point scale as shown in the tables below. The MAcc Program Committee thought a six-point scale was sufficient to allow an adequate degree of discrimination and also provide a basis for computing average numerical scores across student performances. Based on this scale, the percentages imply an average score of approximately 4.3 points. The following paragraphs describe the measurement and assessment of the four learning goals for the cohort of MAcc students graduating at the end of spring quarter, 2008.

Learning Goal 1: Graduates will be competent in and able to apply the basic technical and institutional knowledge of the discipline of accounting.

Measurement: Learning Goal 1 (LG-1) is assessed in AMIS 803 & 804. Both are core courses taken by all MAcc students. AMIS 804 (Professional Research) is taken in the first quarter of the three-quarter program and 803 (Foundations of Accounting) is taken in the second quarter of the program. Data collection took place from Autumn 2007 through Spring 2008. LG-1 is divided into two, equally important subsidiary learning objectives: LG-LG-1A focuses on the students’ ability to perform rigorous analysis of accounting issues; LG-1B focuses on

understanding basic technical and regulatory aspects of accounting.

LG-1A is measured by student scores on a set of team-based analytical exercises

assigned in AMIS 803 that demonstrate student ability to perform rigorous analysis of accounting issues.

LG-1B is measured by student scores on a set of team-based mini-cases that demonstrate

student’s ability to work with important elements of technical and institutional knowledge. The following table presents a summary of the two measures for LG-1:

Summary Measures for Learning Goal 1: Technical and Institutional Knowledge

Scale Points

Measures Below expectations Meets expectations Exceeds expectations

Standards 2% 3% 20% 30% 30% 15% 4.3 Assessment Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 LG-1A: 803 Problem Set 2 (Team Scores) 5 students 6% 7 students 9% 11 students 14% 13 students 17% 4 students 5% 37 students 48% average score 4.4 LG-1B: 804 Mini-Cases (Team Scores) 0 students 0% 5 students 7% 5 students 7% 17 students 22% 29 students 38% 20 students 26% average score 4.7 Average Score 4.6

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discipline. The measures reflect solid achievement on LG-1. The lower average for LG-1A may be a consequence of the greater use of economics and mathematics in 803; if so, it is an expected difference and not a matter for concern.

Learning Goal 2: Graduates will understand the conceptual foundations of accounting and be able to engage in rigorous critical thinking.

Measurement: Learning Goal 2 (LG-2) is assessed using data gathered in an exit examination and also in AMIS 803 & 804. Data collection took place from Autumn 2007 through Spring 2008. LG-2 is divided into three, equally important subsidiary learning objectives: LG-2A focuses on understanding theoretical issues underlying the relationship between accounting practices and organizational efficiency; LG-2B focuses on conceptualization of the accounting discipline; and LG-2C focuses on knowing how to use knowledge of technical and regulatory aspects of accounting to resolve substantive financial reporting and auditing problems.

LG-2A is measured by the scores of individual students on a analytical assignment made

at the end of AMIS 803; the assignment requires students to perform analyses of theoretical issues underlying the relationship between accounting practices and organizational efficiency.

LG-2B is measured by a rubric-guided assessment of individual student essays written in

response to an open-ended question on an exit examination. The rubric has the following structure:

Learning Objective 2B: MAcc Exit Exam Rubric

Scale

Traits Does not meet

expectations=1-2 Meets expectations=3-4 Exceeds expectations=5-6 Points Definitions LG-2B(i): Appreciation of technical issues Either conceptual or technical issues dominate the essay

Both technical & conceptual issues are addressed

Coherent balance between technical & conceptual issues LG-2B(ii): Appreciation of professional institutional issues Little of no attention to professional institutional issues Moderate attention to professional institutional issues Substantive attention to professional institutional issues LG-2B(iii): Ability to conceptualize technical institutional issues Little development of conceptual implications. Gets bogged down in details. Professional

institutional issues are addressed but

framework may lack some coherence or non-key technical details may be overemphasized. Coherent and thorough development of professional institutional issues Total

The foregoing rubric was assessed using responses to the MAcc Exit Exam written by 76 students at the end of their 2008 spring quarter. The assessment was conducted by a graduate student working under the direction and oversight of the Academic Program Director.

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LG-2C is measured by student scores on team-based cases assigned in AMIS 804 that

demonstrate students’ abilities to use important elements of technical and institutional knowledge to resolve accounting problems.

The following table presents a summary of the five measures for LG-2:

Summary Measures for Learning Goal 2: Conceptualization of Accounting Discipline

Scale Points

Measures Below expectations Meets expectations Exceeds expectations

Standards 2% 3% 20% 30% 30% 15% 4.3 Assessment Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 LG-2A: 803 Analytical Problem Set (Individual Scores) 3 students 4% 5 students 6% 28 students 36% 13 students 17% 12 students 16% 16 students 21% average score 3.9 LG-2B(i): Appreciation of

technical issues students 1

1% 11 students 14% 27 students 35% 24 students 31% 13 students 17% 1 students 1% average score 3.5 LG-2B(ii): Appreciation of professional institutional issues 1 students 1% 5 students 6% 29 students 38% 29 students 38% 12 students 16% 1 students 1% average score 3.6 LG-2B(iii): Ability to conceptualize technical institutional issues 1 students 1% 17 students 22% 29 students 38% 13 students 17% 13 students 17% 1 students 1% average score 3.2 LG-2C: 804 Case Analyses

(Team Scores) students 0

0% 5 students 7% 9 students 12% 19 students 25% 29 students 38% 14 students 18% average score 4.5 Average Score 3.74

Assessment: Learning Goal 2 involves higher-level understandings of the accounting discipline. Accordingly, somewhat lower achievement levels are to be expected for the related sub-goals here than for those of Learning Goal 1. We view LG-2B(iii) as the most challenging aspect of the learning objectives arrayed under Learning Goal 2; we believe that the higher level of below-expectation students under this objective is a consequence of this higher level of difficulty. In general, the results for LG-2 are in keeping with our expectations and, again, indicate solid progress toward achieving this learning goal.

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Learning Goal 3: Graduates will demonstrate competence in general communication skills and analytical reasoning.

Measurement: Learning Goal 3 (LG-3) is assessed using data gathered in an exit examination and also AMIS 804. Data collection took place from Autumn 2007 through Spring 2008. LG-3 is divided into three, equally important subsidiary learning objectives: LG-3A focuses on speaking skills, LG-3B focuses on team work skills, and LG-3C focuses on writing skills.

LG-3A is measured by individual student scores for classroom participation in AMIS 804

awarded by the instructor.

LG-3B is measured by individual student scores for team participation in AMIS 804

awarded by the each student’s team-mates.

LG-3C focuses on writing ability as measured by a rubric-guided assessment of

individual student essays written in response to an open-ended question on an exit examination. The rubric has the following structure:

Learning Objective 3C: Written Communication Rubric

Scale Points

Traits Does not meet

expectations=1-2 Meets expectations=3-4 Exceeds expectations=5-6 Definitions LG-3C(i): Organization

Weak logical flow & cohesion

Generally organized, cohesive & focused

Clear organization guides reader through logic of analysis

LG-3C(ii): Spelling and Word Choice

Many misspelled words & inappropriate vocabulary

Some typos & occasional

inappropriate words

Correct spelling & appropriate vocabulary

LG-3C(iii): Grammar

Grammatical errors, sentence structure & paragraph flow detract from readability Generally appropriate grammar, sentence structure & paragraphing Minimal or no grammar, sentence structure & paragraphing errors LG-3C(iv): Expository Quality

Does not meet expectations for professional business communication; difficult to understand the point; too wordy; cryptic

Meets expectations for professional business communication Exceeds expectations for professional business communication; economy of language, clarity of expression Total

The foregoing rubric was assessed on the required MAcc Exit Examination written by 76 students at the end of their 2008 spring quarter. The assessment was conducted by a graduate student working under the direction and oversight of the Program Director.

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The following table presents a summary of the three measures for LG-3:

Summary Measures for Learning Goal 3: Communication Skills

Scale Points

Measures Below expectations Meets expectations Exceeds expectations

Standards 2% 3% 20% 30% 30% 15% 4.3 Assessment Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 LG-3A: Class participation 0 students 0% 0 students 0% 20 students 26% 12 students 16% 9 students 12% 35 students 46% average score 4.8 LG-3B: Teamwork 3 students 4% 4 students 5% 5 students 7% 19 students 25% 22 students 29% 23 students 30% average score 4.6 LG-3C(i): Organization 0 students 0% 6 students 8% 13 students 17% 33 students 43% 21 students 27% 4 students 5% average score 4.1 LG-3C(ii): Spelling and

Word Choice students 0

0% 4 students 5% 9 students 12% 34 students 44% 27 students 35% 3 students 4% average score 4.2 LG-3C(iii): Grammar 1 students 1% 4 students 5% 10 students 13% 44 students 57% 17 students 22% 1 students 1% average score 4.0 LG-3C(iv): Expository Quality students 1 1% 6 students 8% 9 students 12% 47 students 61% 14 students 18% 0 students 0% average score 3.9 Average Score 4.3

Assessment: Communication skills are an important element of admission criteria; hence, relatively high scores on communication measures are to be expected. The results reported here indicate substantial achievement of this learning goal. The weakness in over-all expository quality may reflect a lower level attention to exposition in an examination setting.

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Learning Goal 4: Graduates will understand the ethical responsibilities of an accounting professional.

Measurement: Learning Goal 4 (LG-4) is assessed using data gathered in an exit examination administered to all graduating MAcc students. Data collection took place in spring 2008. LG-4 focuses on appreciation of ethical responsibilities in a professional environment as measured by a rubric-guided assessment of individual student essays written in response to an open-ended question on an exit examination. The rubric has the following structure:

Learning Goal 4: Ethical Responsibilities Rubric

Scale Points

Traits Does not meet expectations=1-2 Meets expectations=3-4 Exceeds expectations=5-6 Definitions LG-4A: Understanding & Coherence

Fails to make a coherent argument

Issues and facts are mentioned appropriately but overall argument lacks some coherence

Makes a coherent argument that reflects a good understanding of relevant issues & facts

LG-4B: Assesses utilitarian trade-offs among the parties involved

Fails to assess trade-offs or does so ineffectively

Assesses some of the trade-offs and does so fairly effectively

Assesses key trade-offs and does so effectively

LG-4C: Evidence of Personal

Commitment & Integrity

Detached and abstract in the extreme, like a textbook

Shows limited personal engagement with issues

Personalization of issues, engagement with issues

LG-4D: Willingness to engage with ethical issue & shows depth of thinking

Discusses either individual level or institutional level but not both; does not address interaction between the two

Discusses both the individual level and institutional level but does not articulate well the relationship between the two

Understands the complexity of the challenge at individual & institutional level & interaction of the two

LG-4E: Integrity of the information No mention of the special professional responsibilities for information integrity Brief discussion of special professional responsibilities for information integrity Substantive discussion of special professional responsibilities for information integrity Total

The foregoing rubric was assessed on MAcc Exit Examinations written by 76 students at the end of their 2008 spring quarter. The assessment was conducted by a graduate student working under the direction and oversight of the Academic Program Director.

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The following table presents a summary of the three measures for LG-4: Summary Measures for Learning Goal 4: Ethics

Scale Points

Measures Below expectations Meets expectations Exceeds expectations

Standards 2% 3% 20% 30% 30% 15% 4.3 Assessment Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 LG-4A: Understanding & Coherence students 0 0% 6 students 8% 48 students 62% 18 students 23% 5 students 6% 0 students 0% average score 3.3 LG-4B: Assesses utilitarian trade-offs among the parties involved 5 students 6% 20 students 26% 40 students 52% 8 students 10% 4 students 5% 0 students 0% average score 2.8 LG-4C: Evidence of Personal Commitment & Integrity 0 students 0% 1 students 1% 19 students 25% 45 students 58% 11 students 14% 1 students 1% average score 3.9 LG-4D: Willingness to engage with ethical issue & shows depth of thinking 0 students 0% 1 students 1% 19 students 25% 45 students 58% 11 students 14% 1 students 1% average score 3.9 LG-4E: Integrity of the information 0 students 0% 7 students 9% 23 students 30% 38 students 49% 8 students 10% 1 students 1% average score 3.6 Average Score 3.5

Assessment: The percentage of students in the below-expectations category for LG-4B is somewhat surprising but the remaining scores are at within acceptable ranges. Given the higher average scores for the remaining objectives, the lower score on objective LG-4B may reflect the higher level understanding required to build a discussion of interpersonal trade-offs into a response; thus, the lower score may be a result of expository flaws in the exit exam answers rather than failures of understanding. Further, we may have placed too much weight on theoretical incentive aspects of the trade-off in evaluating essays that addressed the ethics question in a broader frame of reference.

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CLOSING THE LOOP

The MAcc Program Committee met on October 10, 2008, to review and analyze the Assurance of Learning data presented in this report and to decide on action steps indicated by the data. In general, we believe that the MAcc Program is solidly on track with respect to its learning goals. The program is composed entirely of high-ability students. Further, we believe the flexibility given students in the design of their programs encourages a high level of engagement in their coursework which, in turn, fosters the desired learning objectives.

Learning Goals 1 and 2

Learning Goals 1 and 2 are framed in terms of broad knowledge

categories—technical-institutional knowledge and conceptual foundations—and the capacity of students to apply that knowledge and to engage in rigorous critical thinking. It should be noted that the data for LG-1 are entirely indirect measures and may mask problems in this area for some individual students; however, we believe that the MAcc Program entrance requirement of an undergraduate degree in accounting (or equivalent) provides reasonable assurance that all students possess adequate technical and institutional knowledge.

Action Step: The MAcc Exit Exam is composed of three broadly worded questions that support an assessment of technical-institutional knowledge and conceptual foundations in very general terms. As a basis for building a stronger knowledge assessment, the MAcc Committee will complement the broadly stated knowledge question with one or more short essay questions designed to test in-depth understanding of both technical-institutional and conceptual matters. We hope to use the signals from this revised examination to support the development of new courses and also the redesign of the small core of required courses, which is reviewed periodically.

Learning Goal 3

Learning Goal 3 is framed in terms of writing, teamwork, and class participation. The assessment suggests that our students are largely on target with respect to these elements of communication skill. This is not surprising in view of the importance of demonstrated writing skill in our admissions process and the widespread use of team-based assignments throughout the curriculum.

Action Step: Despite the strong showing of students in this area, the MAcc Committee will ask required course instructors to encourage students experiencing writing limitations to enroll in the newly created graduate-level business writing course to be offered by the Fisher College.

Learning Goal 4

The MAcc Program does not require students to take a separate course in ethics, although one is offered as an elective. Rather, required and elective courses continually address matters of ethics and integrity within an accounting context. Learning Goal 4 is framed in terms of a four-part ethics rubric and assessed on an essay examination question included in the MAcc Exit Examination. The assessments suggest that students have a solid grasp of ethical issues and a personal commitment to integrity. The principal negative finding concerns a relatively large

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group of students who did not indicate a good grasp of the utilitarian trade-offs involved in ethical judgments. Again, this requires a high level of understanding, so a relatively low overall showing on this dimension is understandable.

Action Step: The MAcc Exit Exam asks a single broadly worded ethics question that serves as the basis for assessment of Learning Goal 4. The MAcc Committee has decided to complement this single ethics question with more focused questions designed to assess the several aspects of the ethics and integrity issue with greater precision.

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APPENDIX: MACC PROGRAM EXIT EXAM ESSAY QUESTIONS

Instructions

In addition to the other requirements to graduate (e.g. minimum GPA, number of credits, etc.), you must pass a Master’s examination to earn the MAcc degree at The Ohio State University (Graduate School Rule II.5.11).

Accordingly, you will find attached three questions that comprise your Master’s examination.

1) You must answer all questions attached in essay format to satisfy this part of the graduation requirement.

2)

Minimum

length of question #1 is three pages, double-spaced. There is no

minimum length for question #2 or #3. There is no maximum length for any of the questions.

3) Do not handwrite your responses. Type them on separate pages and attach them to the questions.

4) Include your first and last names on the top (header) of each page you submit. 5) Submit your final responses to MAcc Program Committee, c/o GPO in 100

Gerlach Hall by the deadline indicated above.

6) Do not include any binders/covers with your responses – simply staple together all pages in the upper left corner when submitting your responses

Also, in order to more effectively collect career information on our graduates, you are required to submit your salary/offer information along with your responses to this exit exam. This information is critical to compiling placement statistics on our graduates. Your name will NOT be associated with any of this information. If you are still looking for employment, write “still looking for employment” on the survey and return it with your examination responses. If you have already submitted this information online, you may write “Submitted online.” If you are unsure whether you have already submitted your information online, please complete the form to ensure that you have reported the information.

Question #1

Identify an important idea or set of related ideas about accounting that has

captured your attention through your course experiences in the MAcc

program. This idea or set of related ideas may have been covered in your

core classes (AMIS 803, 804 and/or 834) and/or in your electives. Discuss

the idea (or set of ideas) and indicate why you think it is important.

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Question #2

Discuss your understanding of the importance of ethics and integrity for a

professional and business career. Feel free to describe personal

experiences as well as personal principles.

Question #3

As a future alumnus of the MAcc Program, the value of your degree will

depend on our continued attraction of top students and on improving what

we do with them. Discuss the main strengths and weaknesses of the MAcc

program, and indicate any constructive suggestions that you have for

improving the program. The feedback sought is as wide-ranging as you

would like for it to be: quality of instruction, course selection/offerings,

staff/faculty/resource availability, etc.

Complete, sign, and include the following statement with your exit exam:

I, ________________________ (print your name), certify that my answers

to this examination represent my own words and thoughts. I understand

that plagiarism on this examination is “academic misconduct” under

University rules and is subject to serious penalties.

______________________________________________________

Signature/Date

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