PURPOSE – The purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of five determinates of performance in
students (N 677) who completed three years of financial accounting to obtain a Bachelor of
Accounting Science (BCompt) degree by distance education through the University of South Africa.
DESIGH / METHODOLOGY / APPROACH – Regression analysis is used on three yearly measures of
performance with five independent variables (age, gender, prior accounting knowledge, mathematics
background and academic aptitude).
FINDINGS – Results show that mathematics background and academic aptitude are both significantly
associated with student performance, throughout the financial accounting subjects. Prior accounting
knowledge is also important in the first year of study but not thereafter.
RESEARCH LIMITATIONS / IMPLICATIONS – Prior research has found that other factors may influence
student performance, and future studies which include these variables will add to these findings.
PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS – The results of this study have important implications for instructors,
students and career advisers, particularly as research linking various factors with performance in
accounting subjects over the length of a degree is limited.
ORIGINALITY / VALUE – The current study considers the determinants of student performance over three
financial accounting years (rather than one year or one subject) and from a distance education
perspective. As distance education becomes a more important delivery method of study in the future,
these results have important implications.