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The impact of question format in principles of economics classes: Evidence from New Zealand


  • Stephen Hickson


This study investigates whether question format disadvantages certain types of students. I use assessment data compiled from principles of economics classes at the University of Canterbury from 2002-2008. I combine these with administrative data on student characteristics to create a comprehensive dataset of over 20,000 observations. To control for student ability, I use a battery of measures of student performance in non-economics classes. In the absence of controls for student ability, I find that question format appears to have a significant impact on student performance. These mostly disappear when student ability variables are added. The major exceptions are student characteristics associated with language: I find that non-native English speakers are relatively disadvantaged by constructed response questions even after controlling for student ability.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Hickson, 2010. "The impact of question format in principles of economics classes: Evidence from New Zealand," New Zealand Economic Papers, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(3), pages 269-287.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:nzecpp:v:44:y:2010:i:3:p:269-287
    DOI: 10.1080/00779954.2010.522165

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