This study investigates empirically the role of supplemental instruction (SI) as a means of enhancing student performance in the first accounting course. SI is a proactive educational intervention program that targets traditionally “high‐risk” courses and employs collaborative learning techniques emphasizing learning strategies and critical‐thinking skills. This emphasis on “learning to learn” has been advocated by the Accounting Education Change Commission (AECC) as a goal of the first accounting course.

ANCOVA‐based results from 1,359 students in nine sessions of Principles of Accounting indicate that SI was effective at increasing academic performance; after controlling for self‐selection bias, participation in both voluntary and mandatory SI sessions was found to be positively associated with the total points earned in the course. Additionally, a step pattern is observed in the increased performance for both the voluntary and mandatory attendance phases of the study, indicating that the level of SI attendance may play a role in the benefits obtained. The implications of this analysis for the accounting curriculum are addressed.

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