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Comparing Student Achievement across Experimental and Lecture-Oriented Sections of a Principles of Microeconomics Course

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Author Info

  • Tisha L. N. Emerson

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Baylor University)

  • Beck A. Taylor

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Baylor University)

Abstract

An increasingly popular alternative to the lecture-oriented “chalk-and-talk” approach to teaching principles of microeconomics is the use of classroom experiments. Like other alternatives to traditional teaching methods, there exists little more than anecdotal evidence supporting the effectiveness of the experimental approach. We estimate the effect of participating in classroom experiments on student achievement in a principles of microeconomics course. Nine sections (300 students) participated in the study, two of which (59 students) relied heavily on classroom experiments throughout the semester. The remaining seven sections (241 students) used no experiments. We find that students in the experimental sections experienced significantly higher gains in Test of Understanding in College Economics (TUCE) scores but differed little on other more qualitative outcomes. Additionally, results indicate that certain student characteristics, including gender, major, and grade point average, can be used to predict a student’s likely success when choosing between courses that rely on experiments and those that employ more traditional forms of pedagogy.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Southern Economic Association in its journal Southern Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 70 (2004)
Issue (Month): 3 (January)
Pages: 672-693

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Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:70:3:y:2004:p:672-693

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Web page: http://www.southerneconomic.org/
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Cited by:
  1. Inhyuck "Steve" Ha & Jessica Hollars Wisniewski, 2011. "Experiential Learning Based Discussion vs. Lecture Based Discussion: How to Estimate the Unemployment Rate," Journal for Economic Educators, Middle Tennessee State University, Business and Economic Research Center, Middle Tennessee State University, Business and Economic Research Center, vol. 11(1), pages 33-38, Summer.
  2. Gerald Eisenkopf & Pascal Sulser, 2013. "A Randomized Controlled Trial of Teaching Methods: Do Classroom Experiments Improve Economic Education in High Schools?," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2013-17, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.
  3. Mitchell, David & Hunsader, Kenneth & Parker, Scott, 2011. "A Futures Trading Experiment: An Active Classroom Approach to Learning," MPRA Paper 56496, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2011.
  4. Beth A. Freeborn & Jason P. Hulbert, 2011. "Persuasive and Informative Advertising: A Classroom Experiment," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(1), pages 51-59, January.
  5. Juan Luis Jiménez & Jordi Perdiguero & Ancor Suárez, 2011. "Debating as a classroom tool for adapting learning outcomes to the European higher education area," IREA Working Papers, University of Barcelona, Research Institute of Applied Economics 201109, University of Barcelona, Research Institute of Applied Economics, revised Jun 2011.
  6. Inhyuck "Steve" Ha & Jessica Hollars Wisniewski, 2011. "Experiential Learning Based Discussion vs. Lecture Based Discussion: How to Estimate the Unemployment Rate," Journal for Economic Educators, Middle Tennessee State University, Business and Economic Research Center, Middle Tennessee State University, Business and Economic Research Center, vol. 11(2), pages 33-38, Fall.
  7. Martin Dufwenberg & J. Todd Swarthout, 2009. "Play to Learn? An Experiment," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University 2009-08, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  8. David L. Dickinson, 2006. "Cash or Credit? The importance of reward medium and experiment timing in classroom preferences for fairness," Working Papers, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University 06-12, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
  9. Subha Mani & Utteeyo Dasgupta, 2010. "Explaining Randomized Evaluation Techniques Using Classroom Games," Fordham Economics Discussion Paper Series, Fordham University, Department of Economics dp2010-06, Fordham University, Department of Economics.
  10. Dickinson, David L., 2009. "Experiment timing and preferences for fairness," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 89-95, January.
  11. James E. McClure & Lee C. Spector, 2004. "Plus/Minus Grading and Motivation: An Empirical Study of Student Choice and Performance," Working Papers, Ball State University, Department of Economics 200401, Ball State University, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2005.
  12. Liu, Donald J. & Walker, J.D. & Bauer, Theresa A. & Zhao, Meng, 2008. "Facilitating Classroom Economics Experiments with an Emerging Technology: The Case of Clickers," Staff Papers, University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics 44344, University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics.

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