Challenges to instruction: K-12, CPA syllabus

The fundamentals of accounting are the building blocks to success in future accounting-related work and the CPA certification. Mastery of the fundamentals starts in K-12 and continues through college. Fundamentals of Accounting is an entry-level course that has been moved from the college curriculum and moved to K-12. Colleges with K-12 offering has a logical feeder to its business and accountancy programs. Others draw students from various schools. Either way, shifting the fundamentals of accounting to K-12 has a strategic implication on the competencies of future graduates and their readiness for the CPA examinations or high-level accounting-related work. A potential problem is the availability of teachers for K-12. Inadequate instruction results in weak fundamentals, and the student may not be prepared for the rigors of accounting study at a higher level. Senior High Schools offering the Accountancy, Business, and Management (ABM) strand will soon establish a reputation based on their graduates’ admission to college and accountancy programs.

Accounting is much more than bookkeeping. Unlike principles of science and natural law that can be proven by experiments and mathematical formula, the theories and concepts of accounting adapt to different and changing circumstances, subject to various assumptions or interpretations. Demonstrating Newton’s first law of motion or copying a number to the proper row under the proper column in a worksheet, is easier than explaining the implication of relevance and representational faithfulness in financial statements. This adds more pressure to an overloaded teacher in a traditional classroom set up, consisting of students with different learning aptitudes. Students without the proper theoretical and conceptual foundations will struggle and find succeeding accounting subjects increasingly difficult. Those with solid fundamentals easily acquire incremental knowledge as they progress. The student’s early days of accounting study will determine future success or failure. Some are doomed as early as Day One.

Supplementing classroom instruction with an online course will ease the burden of instruction, by shifting materials online and make them available to students anytime, anywhere. Drills and practice exercises can be posted to the online environment, freeing valuable classroom time for enriching discussion. Undermanned schools will also be able to increase teacher-student ratio with the same or better learning effectiveness. Online learning is a cost-effective, practical solution to instruction-related obstacles to learning.

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