The desire to improve students’ academic performance burns in the heart of every educational researcher. Accounting education teachers and researchers sought for several ways in which improvement in the students’ academic performance can be enhanced. This is because the performance of students in accounting serves as motivation to the teachers and researchers.
Accounting is a process of identifying, recording and interpreting economic events. “It is the determination, analysis, interpretation and communication of economic data” (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, 1940). Accounting is the language of business and an integral aspect of all business activities. It is an element of business education and business education itself is a component of vocational education (Ezeagba, 2014). Accounting is an important subject that is needed by every individual & nation in imparting behavioral change (Lawal, 2002). It does not only expose students to a system of recording and summarizing business transactions, but more importantly, it helps students interpret and analyze financial information which are crucial inputs in most business decisions. In many business programs for non accounting majors, however, accounting is considered to be a difficult subject to pass (see Doran, Bouillon & Smith, 1991; Elias, 2005; Lane & Porch, 2002). In the university where this study is conducted, the percent of students who obtain a final grade of less than C (“satisfactory”) in their first college accounting course is 30 to 35%, making it the business course with the lowest average grade. Accounting is basically a skills course, and as such, constant practice is a key to grasping the concepts. Teachers implement this by continuously assigning homework, encouraging good study habits, asking students to budget time for studying, and generally exhorting students to “work hard” (Darwin, 2011). The amount of time spent studying coupled with “deliberate practice” can improve academic performance (Plant, Ericsson, Hill & Asberg, 2005).
Performance refers to the outcome of education; the extent to which the student, teacher or institution have achieved their educational goals. Academic performance is the ability to study and remember facts and being able to communicate one’s knowledge verbally or written on paper (Answers, 2010). In the context of this study, Academic performance according to Eze, Ezenwafor and Obidile (2016) is the outcome of students’ effort in examinations. It was observed from the literature that students’ academic performance is determined by a number of factors. Steinberger (2005) posit that academic performance encompasses students’ ability and performance; it is multidimensional; it is intricately related to human growth and cognitive, emotional and social physical development; it reflects the whole child; it is not related to a single instance, but occurs across time and levels, through a student’s life in public school and into post secondary years and working life. Academic performance refers to how well a student is accomplishing his tasks and studies.
Academic performance in school is evaluated in a number of ways. For regular grading student students demonstrate their knowledge by taking written and oral tests, performing presentations, submission of homework and participating in class activities and discussion. Teachers evaluate in the form of assignment, test and examination to describe how well a student has done. Poor academic achievement is a performance that is adjudged by the examiner and some significant others as falling below an expected standard (Adesemowo, 2005). Academic performance is affected by many factors such as motivation, student ability, the quality of secondary education received. Research has established that students’ academic performance is the product of an inter-play of factors like good and effective study habits and skills, good teachers, and congenial school and home environment (Onocha & Okpala, 1985; Soyibo, 1986; Odebumni, 1988; Ajayi, 1988). Thus, students’ poor performance in an examination could be attributed to lack of motivation, poor study habits, and students’ classroom participation.
Educational psychologists have long recognized the importance of motivation for supporting student learning. Motivation refers to “the reasons underlying behavior” (Guay et al., 2010). Motivation is a psychological process which leads anyone to act in a way that helps him/her to fulfill unsatisfied needs (Latham G., 2011). Obviously, motivation plays a significant role in education. Especially, in the Higher education as the desire to learn appears to shrink with the growth of children (Lumsden, 1994). That’s why there are numerous students’ who start their study but can’t graduate themselves. Actually, everyone wants any specific reason for the specific action which reason gives him/her the motivation to do that action. Same case is with Academic performance. Students’ need a reason or motivation to perform well academically.
Intrinsic motivation is motivation that is animated by personal enjoyment, interest, or pleasure. As Deci et al. (1999) observe, “Intrinsic motivation energizes and sustains activities through the spontaneous satisfactions inherent in effective volitional action. It is manifest in behaviors such as play, exploration, and challenge seeking that people often do for external rewards” (p. 658). Researchers often contrast intrinsic motivation with extrinsic motivation, which is motivation governed by reinforcement contingencies. Traditionally, educators consider intrinsic motivation to be more desirable and to result in better learning outcomes than extrinsic motivation (Deci et al., 1999).
In a research paper comprised of several field studies and laboratory experiments, Boggiano et al. (1992) revealed that academic motivation positively influenced academic performance.
It was found that motivational orientation predicted children’s standardized achievement scores Boggiano, A. K., Shields, A., Barrett, M., Kellam, T., Thompson, E., Simons, J., ; Katz, P. (1992). Specifically, children with an intrinsic motivational orientation had higher reading and math scores and higher overall achievement scores than their extrinsic counterparts.
Abdurrahman ; Garba (2014) conducted a study that examined the impact of motivation on academic achievement of junior secondary school students in mathematics using gender as a variable of interest. The findings show that motivation has impact on academic achievement of junior secondary school students of Kebbi state in mathematics with respect to gender. It also examined their academic achievement based on the extent to which they are motivated.