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School, Department, and Instructor Determinants of Assessment Methods in Undergraduate Economics Courses


  • Georg Schaur

    () (Department of Economics, University of Tennessee, 505A Stokely Management Center, Knoxville, TN 37996-0550, USA.)

  • Michael Watts

    (Department of Economics, Purdue University, 425 W. State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2056, USA)

  • William E Becker

    (1] Indiana University[2] University of South Australia[3] Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)[4] Center for Economic Studies and Institute for Economic Research (CESifo), 325 Blue Ridge Drive, Bloomington, IN 47408, USA)


We identify factors related to instructors’ choice of assessment methods in undergraduate economics courses, using national survey data collected in 1995, 2000, and 2005. Respondents were asked to indicate which of 10 different assessment methods they used in four different types of courses (principles, intermediate theory, econometrics and statistics, and other upper-division field courses), and to provide background information on school, department, and individual factors that might influence the choice of assessment methods, including time spent on research vs teaching, perceived incentives/rewards for those activities in their departments and schools, class size, and the individual instructor's rank, years of teaching experience, gender, and native language. Both probit and OLS specifications show most of these individual variables to be important in determining the choice of assessment methods in at least some types of courses, but only rarely across all types of courses. Two variables reflecting school missions and departmental policies are, however, important determinants of using essay questions and longer written assignments, such as term papers: class size (especially classes with more than 40 students) and semester teaching loads for faculty members.

Suggested Citation

  • Georg Schaur & Michael Watts & William E Becker, 2012. "School, Department, and Instructor Determinants of Assessment Methods in Undergraduate Economics Courses," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 381-400.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:easeco:v:38:y:2012:i:3:p:381-400

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