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Determinants of Student Retention of Microeconomic Concepts



In this study, we examine a variety of individual, institutional, and course-specific factors that influence students' retention of concepts from the microeconomics principles course. Students in 15 upper-division courses in the SUNY-Oswego economics department completed a survey instrument and the TUCE exam at the beginning of the Spring 1999 semester. A regression analysis is used to examine the effect of principles course characteristics on student recall (as measured by TUCE score), controlling for student demographic and ability characteristics. Among the factors examined are the impacts of large-class instruction, writing-intensive curricular, and the time interval since the completion of the principles course. The results suggest that students who have completed a writing-intensive introductory microeconomics course perform significantly less well on the TUCE exam at the start of their upper-division courses than do students who participated in classes that relied on multiple-choice examinations.

Suggested Citation

  • John Kane & Larry Spizman, 1999. "Determinants of Student Retention of Microeconomic Concepts," Departmental Working Papers 199901, Department of Economics, SUNY-Oswego, revised 18 Mar 1999.
  • Handle: RePEc:nyo:oswaaa:199901
    Note: This paper was presented on March 12, 1999 in Boston at the Eastern Economic Association conference.

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ronald W. Crowley & David A. Wilton, 1974. "An Analysis of 'Learning' in Introductory Economics," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 7(4), pages 665-673, November.
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    3. Mary O. Borg & Stephen L. Shapiro, 1996. "Personality Type and Student Performance in Principles of Economics," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(1), pages 3-25, January.
    4. Roberta Edgecombe Robb & A. Leslie Robb, 1999. "Gender and the Study of Economics: The Role of Gender of the Instructor," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(1), pages 3-19, January.
    5. Karen E. Dynan & Cecilia Elena Rouse, 1997. "The Underrepresentation of Women in Economics: A Study of Undergraduate Economics Students," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(4), pages 350-368, December.
    6. Ellen Miller & Geraldine Westmoreland, 1998. "Student Response to Selective Grading in College Economics Courses," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(3), pages 195-201, September.
    7. Siegfried, John J & Kennedy, Peter E, 1995. "Does Pedagogy Vary with Class Size in Introductory Economics?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 347-351, May.
    8. Rajshree Agarwal & A. Edward Day, 1998. "The Impact of the Internet on Economic Education," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(2), pages 99-110, June.
    9. Akerhielm, Karen, 1995. "Does class size matter?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 229-241, September.
    10. Heath, Julia A, 1989. "An Econometric Model of the Role of Gender in Economic Education," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 226-230, May.
    11. Maureen J. Lage & Michael Treglia, 1996. "The Impact of Integrating Scholarship on Women into Introductory Economics: Evidence from One Institution," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(1), pages 26-36, January.
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    More about this item


    TUCE; class size; writing requirements; economic education; student performance; multiple choice exams;

    JEL classification:

    • A22 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics - - - Undergraduate

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