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Assessing the Quality of Instruction In University Economics Courses: Attrition as a Source of Self-Selection Bias in Mean Test Scores


  • D. F. Sheets

    (Southwest Missouri State University)

  • E. E. Topping

    (Southwest Missouri State University)


This paper examines the hypothesis that the quality of instruction influences observed mean test scores through its effects on both individual student performance and on class attrition rates. Since these effects are expected to display opposite signs, the level and dispersion of these scores are biased downward. It is shown that hypothesis tests based on simple mean test scores may yield unreliable and possibly misleading results. Data from classes in the principles of economics are employed to test the hypothesis.

Suggested Citation

  • D. F. Sheets & E. E. Topping, 2000. "Assessing the Quality of Instruction In University Economics Courses: Attrition as a Source of Self-Selection Bias in Mean Test Scores," Journal of Economic Insight (formerly the Journal of Economics (MVEA)), Missouri Valley Economic Association, vol. 26(2), pages 11-21.
  • Handle: RePEc:mve:journl:v:26:y:2000:i:2:p:11-21

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    Cited by:

    1. Bruce A. Weinberg & Belton M. Fleisher & Masanori Hashimoto, 2007. "Evaluating Methods for Evaluating Instruction: The Case of Higher Education," NBER Working Papers 12844, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • A22 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics - - - Undergraduate
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education


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