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How Much Math Do Students Need to Succeed in Business and Economics Statistics? An Ordered Probit Analysis

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Author Info

  • Jeffrey J. Green

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Ball State University)

  • Courtenay C. Stone

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Ball State University)

  • Abera Zegeye

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Ball State University)

  • Thomas A. Charles

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Ball State University)

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    Abstract

    Because statistical analysis requires both familiarity with and the ability to use mathematics, students typically are required to take one or more prerequisite math courses prior to enrolling in the business statistics course. Despite these math prerequisites, however, students find it extremely difficult to learn business statistics. In this study, we use an ordered probit model to examine the effect of alternative prerequisite math course sequences on the grade performance of 1,684 business and economics statistics students at a large Midwestern university. In addition, we show how the imposition of a minimum grade requirement of C- for the math prerequisite course would impact student success in the business statistics course. Although several studies have examined the impact of different math skills on student success in business and economics statistics courses, our study is the first to provide a detailed analysis of the impact of different prerequisite math course sequences on student performance in business statistics. Our study shows that, other things the same, taking more math credit hours, taking math courses that emphasize calculus, and imposing a minimum grade of C- on the prerequisite math course have significantly positive impacts on student grade performance in the business and economics statistics course.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Ball State University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 200802.

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    Length: 24 pages
    Date of creation: Apr 2008
    Date of revision: Apr 2008
    Publication status: Published in Journal of Statistics Education, 2009, vol. 17, no. 3.
    Handle: RePEc:bsu:wpaper:200802

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    Phone: (765) 285-5360
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    Web page: http://www.bsu.edu/econ
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    Keywords: introductory business statistics; math prerequisites; math topics; student performance; minimum prerequisite math grade requirement.;

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    1. Charles L. Ballard & Marianne F. Johnson, 2004. "Basic Math Skills and Performance in an Introductory Economics Class," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(1), pages 3-23, January.
    2. Becker, William E, 1987. "Teaching Statistical Methods to Undergraduate Economics Students," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 18-23, May.
    3. William E. Becker & William H. Greene, 2001. "Teaching Statistics and Econometrics to Undergraduates," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(4), pages 169-182, Fall.
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