This paper has two objectives. The first is to advocate that “action research” be considered as a methodology for research in accounting education. The second is to describe an on-going Action Research Project (the Project), the purpose of which has been to increase the academic success rates of educationally disadvantaged students in accounting and business courses. The Project is part of an Alternative Admissions Program (AAP) located at a mid-sized public university in the Northeast United States. The Project has involved a small sub-set of students in the AAP who expressed an interest in majoring in business or accounting. The Project description covers a period of eight years during which time the authors engaged in a cyclical series of action steps including planning, acting, observing and reflecting (Grundy, 1988). Based upon qualitative data gathering through observation of student behavior, and through completion of certain assessment forms, frequent changes were made to teaching methods and the general conduct of the Project. The Project’s success has been attributable in part to smaller class sizes and individual attention. However, engaging students in positive learning experiences has also been important. While the numbers are small, we feel that the Project has contributed to improving the lives of the students involved. Throughout this Project, our hope has been that as the expectation levels of educationally disadvantaged students grow, they will in turn be motivated towards higher levels of academic achievement, thus permanently removing the educationally disadvantaged stigma.



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