Notes and Commentaries

Taxation students’ perceptions of open-book assessment: a follow-up interactive qualitative analysis

Published in: South African Journal of Accounting Research
Volume 29, issue 1, 2015 , pages: 84–99
DOI: 10.1080/10291954.2015.999457
Author(s): Hanneke Du PreezDepartment of Taxation, South Africa


Students’ perceptions of a particular assessment type seems to influence their attitude to preparing for and taking the assessment. The literature suggests that open-book assessment allows a better understanding of the content of a subject area, thus better preparing students for real-life situations. Hence, this study sought an in-depth understanding of taxation students’ perceptions of open-book assessment in the process of qualifying as chartered accountants. Using already published findings on a focus group of taxation students’ perceptions prior to exposure to open-book assessment, an interactive qualitative analysis (IQA) method was again adopted to analyse interviews with taxation students on their perceptions of open-book assessment after exposure to such assessment. The new findings were compared to those for the focus group. The affinities that emerged from the focus group study elicited various comments from the interviewees. One difference between the two groups was that the focus group saw the different approach affinity as the final outcome of the system created by the IQA, while the interviewees regarded this affinity as the system's primary starting point. Secondary differences between the two groups pertained to the affinities encouragement, improved quality of answers, negative environment and time management. The groups agreed on good preparation, back-up, general advantages and negative symptoms of open-book assessment. This study concludes that when students need to be prepared for open-book assessment, the different approach affinity should be a point of departure.

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