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Exploring the relationship between students' orientations to learning, the structure of students' learning outcomes and subsequent academic performance


  • Prem Ramburuth
  • Rosina Mladenovic


This paper discusses a study of 966 undergraduate Accounting students enrolled in a large Australian Business School, to investigate the relationship between two factors obtained on entry to higher education and students' subsequent academic performance (where academic performance is measured by aggregate final grades). The two factors explored are: students' orientations to learning on entry to university, as measured by a modified version of the Study Process Questionnaire (SPQ) (Biggs 1987c); and the structure of students' learning outcomes as measured by scoring students' responses on a comprehension task completed on entry to university using the Biggs and Collis' SOLO taxonomy (1982). Findings indicate that 25% of the students entering higher education exhibited the 'relational' and 'extended abstract' SOLO levels in the comprehension task administered. Furthermore, SOLO scores were significantly positively correlated with academic grades, and there was a significant negative relationship between students' SPQ surface scores and academic grades. The findings provide insights into trends relating to students 'at risk', and suggest that students entering higher education demonstrating lower SOLO scores are at a higher risk of failure than those entering at the higher SOLO scores. The findings serve to signal areas for attention in relation to facilitating student learning. The paper considers the implications of these findings for teaching and learning in business and accounting education.

Suggested Citation

  • Prem Ramburuth & Rosina Mladenovic, 2004. "Exploring the relationship between students' orientations to learning, the structure of students' learning outcomes and subsequent academic performance," Accounting Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(4), pages 507-527.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:accted:v:13:y:2004:i:4:p:507-527
    DOI: 10.1080/0963928042000306774

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Martin P. Shanahan & Jan H. F. Meyer, 2001. "A Student Learning Inventory for Economics Based on the Students' Experience of Learning: A Preliminary Study," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(3), pages 259-267, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Yilmaz Guney, 2009. "Exogenous and Endogenous Factors Influencing Students' Performance in Undergraduate Accounting Modules," Accounting Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(1), pages 51-73.
    2. Richard B. Dull & Lydia L. F. Schleifer & Jeffrey J. McMillan, 2015. "Achievement Goal Theory: The Relationship of Accounting Students' Goal Orientations with Self-efficacy, Anxiety, and Achievement," Accounting Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(2), pages 152-174, April.


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