Assurances of Learning: The Master of Accountancy (MACC)

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1 Assurances of Learning: The Master of Accountancy (MACC) Introduction The mission of the Department of Accounting and Business Law is to achieve excellence in accounting education by providing high quality instruction and curricula, relevant intellectual contributions, and professional service. Thus the master s level accounting programs will have a learning environment to develop a diverse set of skills in students including technical competence in analytical and quantitative techniques, critical thinking, communication abilities, and ability to use technology to prepare students for professional careers in a dynamic world. In addition, we strive to provide an environment that fosters intellectual contributions by our faculty to the body of knowledge of accounting, business law, and related fields. The results of our involvement in basic, applied, and pedagogical research are integrated into the curriculum where appropriate. Our faculty members are encouraged to provide educational and professional service to the university community, to the accounting profession, and to the public. Program and Curriculum Management The Master of Accountancy (MACC) Program and its curriculum is determined and administered by the Graduate Accounting Program Committee (MACC committee), a group of accounting graduate faculty. The Committee works under the direction of the Coordinator for Graduate Programs in Accounting who is responsible for recruiting and advising students, managing student records, assurances of learning, special events and managing MACC committee activities. The Master of Accountancy (MACC) and Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) programs are designed to enable students to compete for professional accounting positions in business, government and public accounting firms. Either degree qualifies a graduate to meet the 150-hour requirements of the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy to sit for the Certified Public Accountant examination, and permits specialization in accounting beyond the MBA Program or the undergraduate accounting degree (Bachelor of Business Administration). The MACC program is for students who have an undergraduate degree in accounting or have taken the leveling courses necessary to succeed in the program. It meets the needs of past graduates in accounting as well as those who may wish to retrain themselves to be accountants. Admission requirements to the MACC program include the completion of foundation course work (listed in the UTPA graduate catalog) designed to ensure each student in the program possesses a solid foundation in accounting and business. The degree is 36 credit hours which

2 includes 27 hours of required accounting courses, 3 hours of accounting elective and 6 hours of free electives (to be elected by the student with guidance from the MACC coordinator). Learning Goals of the Master of Accountancy Program The learning goals for the Master of Accountancy degree (MACC) are derived from the school s mission statement and related educational objectives as published on the College of Business Administration website. The accounting program aspires to develop business and academic leaders who are qualified and committed to the improvement of society by directing special attention promoting academic excellence in the areas of critical thinking and problem solving skills, ethical decision-making skills, written and oral communication skills, and technical competency necessary to succeed in the accounting profession. Indirect measures of our success include an increase in recruitment by the Big-4 firms and Governmental Accountability Office (GAO) and UTPA student teams winning the KPMG & ALPFA National Accounting Case Study competition in 2004, 2005 and The learning outcomes for the masters in accounting program were determined by input from faculty based on their study of contemporary developments in the field, including regulations, corporate leadership, technology, and outsourcing of some accounting and tax functions to foreign countries. Additional input was received from employers of our MACC graduates as well as from accounting professionals. The Master of Accountancy committee is charged with developing assessment measurements, establishing benchmarks, and analyzing assessment results for the purpose of recommending curricula action. This process is ongoing and continuous. The four learning goals are described briefly below: Learning Goal 1: Ethics. Students will have the capability to recognize ethical issues in business and know how to deal with them. o Students will demonstrate the ability to understand accountants' professional obligations and apply ethical principles and accounting regulations to anticipate and respond to stakeholder expectations. Learning Goal 2: Technical Competency. The students will develop technical competency in Accounting Theory and Research, Managerial Accounting, Taxation, Accounting Information System and Auditing. Learning Goal 3: Analytical/Critical Competency. Students will be able to think logically, solve problems, and make decisions and will demonstrate knowledge of concepts in Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting and International Accounting Learning Goal 4: Communication Competency. Students will be able to communicate both orally and in writing, negotiate with business partners, and educate new entrants into the profession. Learning Goal 5: Preparedness. Students will be academically prepared to succeed in graduate level accounting courses. 2

3 Link between MACC Learning Goals and College Mission The mission of the MACC program is consonant with the mission of the College of Business Administration. The relationship of MACC program learning goals to specific components of the College mission are shown in Table 1. Table 1. Learning Goals and Their Relationships to the College Mission Learning Goal Linked College Mission Component Goal 1: Ethics To develop business and academic leaders who Students will be able to recognize are qualified and committed to the improvement ethical issues in business and know how of society and "To support professional to deal with them. community and university activities that contribute to the economic progress, social improvement, and intellectual development." Goal 2: Technical competency Students will have technical competency in accounting. Goal 3: Analytical competency Students will be able to think logically, solve problems, and make decisions. Goal 4: Communication competency Students will develop effective written and oral communication skills. Goal 5: Preparedness. Students will be academically prepared to succeed in graduate level accounting courses. To develop business and academic leaders who are qualified and committed to the improvement of society and "To support professional community and university activities that contribute to the economic progress, social improvement, and intellectual development." To develop business and academic leaders who are qualified and committed to the improvement of society and "To support professional community and university activities that contribute to the economic progress, social improvement, and intellectual development." To develop business and academic leaders who are qualified and committed to the improvement of society and "To support professional community and university activities that contribute to the economic progress, social improvement, and intellectual development." To develop business and academic leaders who are qualified and committed to the improvement of society and "To support professional community and university activities that contribute to the economic progress, social improvement, and intellectual development." 3

4 Use of Assessment Results The MACC program uses continuous program evaluation in accordance with AACSB standards to maintain the quality of its program. Program learning outcome data are compiled into an Assurances of Learning (AoL) report and examined by the Accounting Department graduate faculty beginning with results from the academic year then every other year thereafter. The learning outcome results serve as the bases for making adjustment to courses in the curriculum, curriculum content, and extracurricular activities, such as internships, career advising, etc. In addition, to direct learning results provided in the AoL report, a number of other sources of program and course effectiveness information is obtained and used in curricular and program decisions. These sources include: Review of the feedback provided from the student evaluations of every course taught in the department. Annual reviews of faculty performance including teaching, research and service. Assessment of internship and placement opportunities provided to our students. Review of the networking and relations with the business community. Review of the research, publication and professional presentation accomplished during the year. Review of the service provided by faculty members to the department, college, university, community and the profession. Assessment of the collegiality of the department. 4

5 The Learning Goals, Assessment Method and Results This section details the learning goals, their objectives for assessment purposes, the methods used to assess the goals and results of the assessments. Also presented are summaries of the faculty discussions and analyses of the results and their decisions about how to proceed with the curriculum given the results. Goal 1: Ethics - Students will be able to recognize ethical issues in business and know how to deal with them. Learning Objective: Students will demonstrate the ability to understand accountants' professional obligations and apply ethical principles and accounting regulations to anticipate and respond to stakeholder expectations. Assessment Method An essential component to accounting professionals is the ability to demonstrate an understanding of accountants professional obligations and apply ethical principles and accounting regulations appropriately. Every other spring beginning in spring 2010 in ACCT 6380-Professional Ethics, students are given an exam that tests their ability to understand regulations, ethics and apply them appropriately as mandated by Texas state law. Results of this exam administered each spring will be included in the biennial spring AoL report. Program Standards for Demonstrating Achievement of Learning Objectives 80 % of students will meet or exceed expectations on the ethics/regulation assessment. Goal 2: Technical competency - Students will have technical competency in accounting. Learning Objective: Students will demonstrate technical competency in accounting skills in managerial accounting, taxation, accounting information system and auditing. Learning Objective 2.1: Students will demonstrate technical competency in accounting skills in managerial accounting. Learning Objective 2.2: Students will demonstrate technical competency in accounting skills in taxation. Learning Objective 2.3: Students will demonstrate technical competency in accounting information system and auditing. Learning Objective 2.4: Students will demonstrate technical competency in accounting theory and research. 5

6 Assessment Method The Technical Competency learning goal for the MACC is assessed by multiple methods in multiple classes tailored to the specific competencies stated in the learning goal. Each competency is assessed as follows: Managerial accounting: Managerial accounting competency of students is assessed during alternate fall semestsers in the MACC 6340 Managerial Accounting course. A courseembedded comprehensive exam designed to test understanding and application of key concepts is adminstered to all MACC students. The results are reported in the spring MACC AoL report compiled every other year. Taxation: Tax concepts are addressed in the MACC 6320 and MACC To assess technical proficiency in taxation, a course embedded final exam is administered every other fall in MACC 6320-Tax Topics. Results are reported in the spring MACC AoL report compiled every other year. Accounting information system and auditing: IT and auditing concepts are addressed in MACC 6310 Auditing, MACC 6370 Internal Auditing, and MACC 6350 Information Technology. To assess technical proficiency in IT and auditing, four IT audit projects are assigned every other fall in MACC 6350 Information Technology where proficiency in the use of ACL is required to complete the project. Accounting Theory and Research: Accounting theory and research concepts are addressed in MACC 6330 Accounting Theory, MACC 6350 Information Technology, MACC 6310 Auditing and MACC 6370 Internal Auditing. To assess technical competency in understanding accounting theory and research, a research project is assigned in MACC 6330 during alternate fall semesters and scored using the research rubric provided in the Appendix. Results are provided in the spring AoL report. The CPA Exam results are a final measure of the MACC program in its ability to achieve the technical competency learning goal. Exam results for the year are examined in the spring report compiled every two years. Program Standards for Demonstrating Achievement of Learning Objectives 80 percent of students will meet or exceed expectations on the management accounting case project 80 percent of students will meet or exceed expectations on the taxation competency exam. 80 percent of students will meet or exceed expectations on the information technology and audit project. 80 percent of students will meet or exceed expectations on the accounting theory and research assignments. 40 percent of the CPA exam sections taken will be passed. 6

7 Goal 3: Analytical competency - Students will be able to think logically, solve problems, and make decisions. Learning Objective: Students will be able to identify, obtain and analyze relevant data from internal and external sources to make appropriate recommendations for business accounting problems. Assessment Method A case study requiring critical analysis will be assigned to all students during alternate spring semesters in the MACC 6360 Tax Research. The case study presents the student with a fictional client s tax problem and ask the student to research applicable tax laws and court judgements in order to and advise the client through a memo communication. Achievement of this goal is assessed through an independent evaluation by two faculty members not teaching MACC The critical analysis evaluation rubric (See Appendix) is utilized to assess the tax case study report submitted by students of MACC Program Standards for Demonstrating Achievement of Learning Objectives 80% of the critical case analyses examined will meet or exceed expectations. Goal 4: Communication competency - Students will be able to communicate effectively both orally and in writing Learning Objective 4.1: Students will demonstrate effective written communications. Learning Objective 4.2: Students will demonstrate effective oral communications. Assessment Method An individual research project or case study is assigned to all students during alternating spring semesters in MACC 6360 Tax Research. The written component is scored by the UTPA Writing Center using the written communication rubric shown in the appendix. No assessment of oral communication skills was conducted during the 2008 or 2009 academic school year. See closing the loop for the oral communication assessment method that will be implemented starting with the fall 2010 semester. Program Standards for Demonstrating Achievement of Learning Objectives Learning Objective 4.1: 80% of students written communications will meet or exceed expectations for writing effectiveness. Learning Objective 4.2: 80% of students oral communications will meet or exceed expectations for oral communication effectiveness. 7

8 Goal 5: Preparedness - Students will be academically prepared to succeed in graduate level accounting courses. Learning Objective: Students will demonstrate preparedness for master s level accounting courses by successfully completing accounting foundation courses. Learning Objective 5.2: MACC students will perform academically as well as other master s level accounting students. Assessment Method The first measure of MACC student preparedness is the student performance in accounting foundation courses. The two courses, ACCT 3321-Intermediate I and ACCT 3322-Intermediate II, are important foundation courses in financial accounting and are required of all MACC students. Thus, student performance in these two classes is a measure of student readiness to continue into the graduate accounting program. The second measure is a comparison of GPAs by MACC students versus MSA students. If MACC students, who may not have a business background, are as prepared as MSA students, then the GPAs of both groups of students should be comparable. The academic performance of MACC students and average GPAs will be assessed in alternating spring semesters beginning with spring Program Standards for Demonstrating Achievement of Learning Objectives 90 % of students will pass accounting foundation courses with a C or better grade. MACC students should have the same or better GPA as the MSA students. 8

9 APPENDIX A: Rubrics Critical Analysis Evaluation Rubric Criteria Exceeds standards 5 6 points Meets standards 3 4 points Does NOT meet standards = 1-2 Able to identify key problems Use of appropriate evidence to justify comments Quality and feasibility of arguments Implications Clearly identifies all key problems/issues, develops integrated statements of complex issues. Compelling evidence is presented to strongly convince the reader of the logic or soundness of comments. Arguments/statements are well presented, justified and convincing. Clearly understands and explains logical and appropriate implications of problems/issues. Identifies problem/issues in the assignment but may miss minor points Sufficient evidence is used to minimally justify statements/comments and the comments appear logical. Most all arguments/statements are appropriate and well thought-out but could be made stronger. Extends the issues/problems to a logical outcome. Fails to identify most relevant problems/issues in the assignment. Needs work. Virtually no substantiation for comments/arguments or statements are provided. Most arguments/statements are not logical feasible or are poorly thought out. Does not present logical or appropriate implications of the problem/issue. 9

10 Accounting Research Technical Evaluation Rubric Criteria Exceeds Standards 5-6 points Meets expectations 3-4 points Does NOT meet standards 1-2 points Able to identify research problems Understanding methodology and data analysis techniques Understanding the research findings Able to identify any implications of the research to the accounting profession Clearly identifies research problem(s) under investigation. Clearly identifies the research methodology and data analysis techniques utilized by the author(s). Demonstrate clear understanding of the results presented by the author(s). Clearly identifies implications and/or impacts of the research on the accounting profession Identifies key research problem(s) but may miss Identifies the research methodology and data analysis techniques but may miss minor points. Demonstrates adequate understanding of the research findings presented but minor results Adequately identifies implications and/or impacts but may miss some minor implications/impacts. Does not clearly identify the research problem(s) under investigation. No clear identification of methodology and data analysis techniques used in the research manuscript. Fails to demonstrate an adequate understanding of the research finding. Fails to adequately identify any implications and/or impacts of the research 10

11 Writing Rubric Date: Rater: Course: Student: TRAIT Score Logic & Does not develop ideas Develops and organizes Develops unified and Develops ideas cogently, Organization cogently, uneven and ineffective overall organization, unclear introduction or conclusion ideas in paragraphs that are not necessarily connected. Some overall organization, but some ideas seem illogical and/or unrelated, unfocused introduction or conclusions coherent ideas within paragraphs with generally adequate transitions; clear overall organization relating most ideas together, good introduction and conclusion. organizes them logically with paragraphs and connects them with effective transitions. Clear and specific introduction and conclusion. Language Employs words that are unclear, sentence structures inadequate for clarity, errors are seriously distracting Word forms and sentence structures are adequate to convey basic meaning. Errors cause noticeable distraction Word forms are correct, sentence structure is effective. Presence of a few errors is not distracting. Employs words with fluency, develops concise standard English sentences, balances a variety of sentence structures effectively. Spelling and Writing contains Frequent errors in While there may be minor The writing is essential error- Grammar numerous errors in spelling spelling and grammar distract errors, the writing follows normal free in terms of spelling and grammar and grammar which interfere with comprehension the reader conventions of spelling and grammar throughout and has been carefully proofread Development Most ideas Presents ideas in general Supports most ideas with Explores ideas vigorously, of Ideas Purpose unsupported, confusion between personal and external evidence, reasoning flawed The purpose and focus of the writing are not clear to the reader terms, support for ideas is inconsistent, some distinctions need clarification, reasoning unclear The writer s decisions about focus, organization, style, and content sometimes interfere with the purpose of the writing. effective examples, references, and details, makes key distinctions The writer has made good decisions about focus, organization, style, and content so as to achieve the purpose of the writing. supports points fully using a balance of subjective and objective evidence, reasons effectively making useful distinctions The writer s decision about focus, organization, style, and content fully elucidate the purpose and keep the purpose at the center of the piece

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