First-year students’ participation and performance in a financial accounting support group

De Jager, Eloise ; Bitzer, Eli (2013-04)

Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund.

The original publication is available at


The academic performance and retention of first-year students are under scrutiny worldwide. In view of the emphasis on first-year success, a support group was established in a first-year module - Financial Accounting 178 - at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. The article reports on students’ perceptions of their participation and their pass rates within the support group. Both qualitative and quantitative data were obtained from interviews, questionnaires, and an analysis of support group pass rates. The overall conclusion from this study is that students in financial accounting perceived their participation as positive and an increase in pass rates, compared to previous results, was observed. Small-group participation, tutorial classes, and peer student assistance all appear to contribute positively to improved performance of support groups. A number of areas for possible future research were identified from the results.

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