Factors Affecting Students’ Academic Performance in Higher Education: Evidence from Accountancy Degree Programme


  • Haslinda Hassan Tunku Puteri Intan Safinaz School of Accountancy (TISSA-UUM), College of Business, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Kedah, Malaysia
  • Rosli Mohamad Tunku Puteri Intan Safinaz School of Accountancy (TISSA-UUM), College of Business, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Kedah, Malaysia
  • Raja Haslinda Raja Mohd Ali Tunku Puteri Intan Safinaz School of Accountancy (TISSA-UUM), College of Business, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Kedah, Malaysia
  • Yurita Yakimin Abdul Talib Tunku Puteri Intan Safinaz School of Accountancy (TISSA-UUM), College of Business, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Kedah, Malaysia
  • Hafizah Mohamad Hsbollah Tunku Puteri Intan Safinaz School of Accountancy (TISSA-UUM), College of Business, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Kedah, Malaysia




Academic performance, accounting students, undergraduate, CGPA, ethnicity, types of school, income


The increasing demands for accountants in the future have resulted in an increased number of students enrolling in the accounting programmes of Malaysian universities. This expansion, however, has caused some concern about whether these students are likely to succeed in their studies. This study, therefore, aims to examine the factors that drive the academic performance of accounting students at Malaysian universities. The factors included gender, ethnic groups, type of secondary school, sponsorship, and family income. The students’ academic performance was represented by their cumulative grade point average (CGPA) obtained at the end of their programs. The study used a quantitative research design using secondary data of 367 undergraduate accounting students graduated in 2016 from the Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) for analysis. The findings suggested that there were significant differences in students’ academic performance related to ethnic groups, type of secondary school, and family income. Specifically, Malay, Indian, and other students performed less well than did Chinese students. Gender and sponsorship, however, had no significant influence on their academic performance. The study’s findings could help higher learning institutions, parents, and policymakers to formulate effective intervention mechanisms and to introduce a more holistic approach to improve student performance.


Download data is not yet available.


Adzido, R.Y.N., Dzogbede, O.E., Ahiave, E., & Dorkpah, O.K. (2016). Assessment of family income on academic performance of tertiary students: The case of Ho Polytechnic, Ghana. International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, 6(3).

Ahmad, M.R., Pervaiz, M.K., & Aleem, M. (2015). A comparative study of the factors affecting the male and female students’ achievement performance in higher education (A case of government college university, Lahore. European Scientific Journal, 11(7), 429-436.

Aidoo-Buameh, J., & Ayagre, P. (2013). The effect of entry grades on academic performance of university accounting students: A case of undergraduates of Central University. Research Journal of Finance and Accounting, 4(7), 198-206.

Akinloye, G.M., Adu, K.O., & Adu, E.O. (2017). A comparative analysis of students’ performance in economics in private and public secondary schools in Lagos State, Nigeria. Journal of Social Sciences, 44(2-3), 144-151.

Alfan, E., & Othman, N. (2005). Undergraduate students' performance: The case of University of Malaya. Quality Assurance in Education, 13(4), 329-343.

Ali, M., & Hayat, B. (2019). Non-academic factors influencing students' achievement: a study in the Indonesian madrasahs. International Journal of Learning and Intellectual Capital, 16(2), 180-192.

An, B.P. (2010). The relations between race, family characteristics, and where students apply to college. Social Science Research, 39, 310-323

Azmi, A.A.C., & Mustapha, M.Z. (2017). The role of competitiveness, gender and ethnicity in influencing academic performance. MOJEM: Malaysian Online Journal of Educational Management, 2(1), 37-47.

Azmi, A.C. & Harith, S. (2012). Higher order cognitive skills and performance of undergraduate students: Do these skills differ among Asian groups? Far East Journal of Psychology and Business, 9(3), 19-28.

Bakri, N., Razak, N.Z.A., Rahman, H.A., & Khalid, A.A. (2005). Punca prestasi pembelajaran yang lemah di kalangan pelajar Fakulti Pengurusan dan Pembangunan Sumber Manusia, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Skudai, Johor. Jurnal Teknologi, 43, 29-44.

Baliyan, S.P., Rao, K.S.M., & Baliyan, P.S. (2012). Influence of parental education and income level on students’ performance in senior secondary school mathematics in Botswana. Global Research Journal on Mathematics and Science Education, 1(2), 135-158.

Banai, B. & Perin, V. (2016). Type of high school predicts academic performance at university better than individual differences. PLoS ONE, 11(10), 1-16.

BBC News (2013). Is Malaysia university entry a level playing field? Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-23841888

Byrne, M., & Flood, B. (2008). Examining the relationships among background variables and academic performance of first year accounting students at an Irish University. Journal of Accounting Education, 26, 202-212.

Conard, M.A. (2006). Aptitude is not enough: How personality and behaviour predict academic performance. Journal of Research in Personality, 40(3), 339-346.

Dwyer, R.E., McCloud, L., & Hodson, R. (2012). Debt and graduation from American universities. Social Forces, 90(4), 1133-1155.

Farooq, M.S., Chaudhry, A.H., Shafiq, M., & Berhanu, G. (2011). Factors affecting students’ quality of academic performance: A case of secondary school level. Journal of Quality and Technology Management, 7(2), 1-14.

Ghazvini, S.D., & Khajehpour, M. (2011). Gender differences in factors affecting academic performance of high school students. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 15, 1040–1045.

Goff, M. & Ackerman, P. L. (1992). Personality-intelligence relations: Assessment of typical intellectual engagement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 84(4), 537-552.

Kamal, P., & Ahuja, S. (2019). Academic performance prediction using data mining techniques: Identification of influential factors effecting the academic performance in undergrad professional course. In Harmony Search and Nature Inspired Optimization Algorithms (pp. 835-843). Springer, Singapore.

Krishnapillai, G., Kwok, S. Y., Cheong, P., Xin, L., Cheong, K. K., & Lee, Y. (2016). Secondary school choice–what do parents concern?. International Business Education Journal-IBEJ, 9(1), 66-77.

Kumwenda, B., Cleland, J.A., Walker, K., Lee, A.J., & Greatrix, R. (2017). The relationship between school type and academic performance at medical school: A national, multi-cohort study. BMJ Open, 7(8), 1-11.

Lam, S.F., Jimerson, S., Kikas, E., Cefai, C., Veiga, F.H., Nelson, B., Zollneritsch, J. (2012). Do girls and boys perceive themselves as equally engaged in school? The results of an international study from 12 countries. Journal of School Psychology, 50(1), 77–94. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsp.2011.07.004

Machebe, C.H., Ezegbe, B.N., & Onuoha, J. (2017). The impact of parental level of income on students’ academic performance in high school in Japan. Universal Journal of Educational Research, 5(9), 1614-1620.

Marks, G., McMillan, J., & Hillman, K. (2001). Tertiary entrance performance: The role of student background and school factors. Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth. Research Report No. 22. Victoria: Australian Council for Educational Research. Retrieved from https://research.acer.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1023&context=lsay_research

Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia. High performance schools. Retrieved from https://moe.gov.my/index.php/en/soal-selidik/183-murid-pelajar/sekolah/1574-sekolah-berpretasi-tinggi

MOHE (2015). MOHE graduate traser study. Retrieved from http://graduan.mohe.gov.my/Mainpage2.html

Ngozi, M. (2011). Relationship between gender and university students’ academic performance in arts-related subjects. Gender & Behaviour, 9(1), 3701-3710.

Norwani, N.M., & Yusof, R. (2008). Factors ınfluencıng academıc achıevement among busıness admınıstratıon students of publıc hıgher learnıng ınstıtutıons (PHLIS). International Business Education Journal (IBEJ), 1, 1-13.

NST Online (2017). How much would it cost to pursue higher education in Malaysia? Retrieved from https://www.nst.com.my/news/2017/03/223461/how-much-would-it-cost-pursue-higher-education-malaysia

NST Online (2015). Malaysia needs 60,000 accountants by 2020. Retrieved from https://www.nst.com.my/news/2015/09/malaysia-needs-60000-accountants-2020

Olufemioladebinu, T., Adediran, A.A., & Oyediran, W.O. (2018). Factors influencing the academic achievement of students’ in Colleges of Education in Southwest, Nigeria. Journal of Education and Human Development, 7(3), 109-115.

Othman, H., Nopiah, Z.M., Asshaari, I., Razali, N., Osman, M.H., & Ramli, N. (2009). A comparative study of engineering students on their pre-university results with their FirstYear performance FKAB, UKM. Paper presented at the Seminar Pendidikan Kejuruteraan Kongres Pengajaran dan Alam Bina (PeKA’09) dan Pembelajaran UKM 2009, UKM.

Richardson, T. & Elliott, P. (2011). On tuition fees, student debt and mental health. Psychologist, 24(1), 6.

Swope, K.J. & Schmitt, P.M. (2006). The performances of economics graduates over the entire curriculum: The determinants of success. The Journal of Economic Education, 37(4), 387-394.

The Star (2017). What the authorities say. Retrieved from https://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2016/04/17/what-the-authorities-say/#A7ScHOyeEMOJgW44.99

Utusan Online (2001). Rahsia kejayaan pelajar bukan Melayu. Retrieved from http://ww1.utusan.com.my/utusan/info.asp?y=2001&dt=0718&pub=Utusan_Malaysia&sec=Laporan_Khas&pg=lk_04.htm

Win, R. & Miller, P. (2005). The effects of individual and school factors on university students’ academic performance. Perth: The Centre for Labour Market Research. The University of Western Australia. Retrieved from http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download? doi=




How to Cite

Hassan, H., Mohamad, R., Raja Mohd Ali, R. H., Abdul Talib, Y. Y., & Mohamad Hsbollah, H. (2020). Factors Affecting Students’ Academic Performance in Higher Education: Evidence from Accountancy Degree Programme. International Business Education Journal, 13(1), 1–16. https://doi.org/10.37134/ibej.vol13.1.1.2020