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Compulsory tutorial programmes and performance in undergraduate microeconomics: A regression discontinuity design

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  • Schöer, Volker
  • Shepherd, Debra

Abstract

As South African universities experience extremely low graduation rates, academic staff implement a range of interventions, for instance tutorial programmes, in order to improve student performance. However, relatively little is known about the impact of such tutorial programmes on students’ performance. Using data from an introductory microeconomics course, this paper investigates the impact of a compulsory tutorial programme on students’ performance in their final examination. Due to the fact that the tutorial programme was only compulsory for students that obtained less than a pass in the first test, while otherwise offered on a voluntary basis, this paper employs a fuzzy RD design to investigate the impact of the tutorial programme on final exam performance. Findings indicate that assignment to the compulsory programme positively affects students’ performance. However, this result is mainly driven by students who already seem to have the ability to perform but, for whatever reason, underperformed in the first test. Thus, while assignment to the tutorial programme itself leads to an improvement in performance, the mechanism is unclear.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 49716.

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Date of creation: Sep 2013
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:49716

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Keywords: Peer tutoring; compulsory tutorial programme; introductory microeconomics; regression discontinuity design; South Africa;

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  1. Guido Imbens & Karthik Kalyanaraman, 2009. "Optimal Bandwidth Choice for the Regression Discontinuity Estimator," NBER Working Papers 14726, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
  3. Joshua D. Angrist & Guido W. Imbens, 1995. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," NBER Technical Working Papers 0118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Heckman, James J. & Robb, Richard Jr., 1985. "Alternative methods for evaluating the impact of interventions : An overview," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 239-267.
  5. Lee, David S., 2008. "Randomized experiments from non-random selection in U.S. House elections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 675-697, February.
  6. Imbens, Guido W. & Lemieux, Thomas, 2008. "Regression discontinuity designs: A guide to practice," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 615-635, February.
  7. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2009. "Regression Discontinuity Designs In Economics," Working Papers 1118, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  8. Vincent G. Munley & Eoghan Garvey & Michael J. McConnell, 2010. "The Effectiveness of Peer Tutoring on Student Achievement at the University Level," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 277-82, May.
  9. Hahn, Jinyong & Todd, Petra & Van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2001. "Identification and Estimation of Treatment Effects with a Regression-Discontinuity Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 201-09, January.
  10. Wilbert van der Klaauw, 2002. "Estimating the Effect of Financial Aid Offers on College Enrollment: A Regression-Discontinuity Approach," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(4), pages 1249-1287, November.
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