Taxation students’ perceptions of open-book assessment prior to the qualifying examination of South African chartered accountants

24 Jan 2018

In this study taxation students’ perceptions of open-book assessment, prior to their exposure to open-book assessment in the qualifying examination of South African chartered accountants, is explored. A focus group was conducted using the Interactive Qualitative Analysis methodology. In this focus group, taxation students without prior exposure to open-book assessment identified their perception themes (also referred to as affinities) on open-book assessment. These affinities were grouped together and described by them as: good preparation, back-up, encouragement, general advantages, improved quality of answers, negative symptoms, negative environment, personal experience and hindrance, different approach and time management. The students then identified relationships between these different affinities. These relationships were summarized and reflected on a System Interrelationship Diagram, giving a visual map of the students’ perceptions. Findings from the System Interrelationship Diagram indicated that students perceive good preparation as the strongest driver for successful completion of an open-book assessment. This System Interrelationship Diagram showed three primary outcomes namely negative symptoms, different approach and time management. This implies that students perceived that open-book assessment may create laziness (negative symptom) in students leading to a different approach when preparing for and completing such assessments. Finally, they concluded that successful completion of an open-book assessment necessitates proper time management.