A case study in the failure of graduate attributes in accounting education

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Research and Development in Higher Education Vol. 34: Higher Education on the Edge

July, 2011, 394 pages
Published by
K. Krause, M. Buckridge, C. Grimmer, & S. Purbrick-Illek
0 908557 85 X

This paper addresses the controversial issue of delivering graduate attributes in professional programs. The tensions between an institution’s desire for revenue, accreditation requirements for technical knowledge and employer needs for behavioural and higher order cognitive skills are explored through an Australian postgraduate accounting program. Content analysis of program documents is combined with a student survey to find that program and course outcomes align closely with students’ perceived outcomes but largely ignore the graduate attributes required by the profession and more recently, government. The analysis provides a platform for faculty and their institutions to decide on the future directions of such programs.

Keywords: graduate attributes, accounting education, master of professional accounting