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State Board Report

July 2016

Research which benefited from 2015 NASBA grants has shown that (1) investments in students and programs do make a positive contribution to the Uniform CPA Examination’s pass rate for a school and (2) AACSB accreditation also improves a school’s pass rate. Reporting at the Regional Meetings, Drexel University Professors Hubert D. Glover and Jennifer Wright summarized some of the preliminary findings of their study on "Best Practices for Preparing International Students for the Uniform CPA Examination." Through statistical analysis of information from 73 schools, the Drexel team found that the two most significant elements related to the Examination’s passing rate were the student admission eligibility (GMAT score) and the level of opportunity to select concentrations and multiple electives. They also found that programs with enhanced CPA guidance had higher pass rates than the national average. Dr. Glover commented: "Those schools that made the investment to educate students on the profession, that made sure there was professional awareness as well as technical competence, and looked for higher GMAT scores, had higher pass rates."

At both Regional Meetings, Texas Woman’s University School of Management Professor Pamela Baker reported on the preliminary results of the study she and her colleague Dr. Robert Maurer have developed on "Causal Effect of Changes in Business School Accreditation on CPA Exam Success Rates." They compared 20 schools’ pass rates before, and five years after, they achieved accreditation. Those schools that were accredited by the AACSB showed an increase in pass rates that was not initially seen for those schools accredited by the ACBSP or the IACBE. Dr. Baker said the research team found changes required for the AACSB accreditation included: an increase in accounting faculty with a corresponding reduction in the student/faculty ratio; a reduction in many schools’ concentrations; addition of GMAT/GRE entry requirements; and, in some cases, graduate exit tests. She anticipates her team will have the statistical information written up by NASBA’s Annual Meeting.

Dr. Baker remarked: "In research done on on-line vs. face-to-face courses, students requested face-to-face. My on-line course students have requested that we meet in person. The vast majority, 94 percent, say they learn better face-to-face. They need your backbone to support what we need."

The professors thanked NASBA for working to improve accounting education. Dr. Glover told the NASBA audience: "This is awesome that you are supporting research. I would ask you to continue to uphold this great profession and don’t be a stranger to our campuses. They want to meet you."

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