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Online Homework Management Systems: Should We Allow Multiple Attempts?

Author

Listed:
  • Rhodes, M. Taylor

    () (Lawrence University)

  • Sarbaum, Jeffrey K.

    () (University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics)

Abstract

Conventional pencil and paper wisdom suggests that allowing multiple attempts on homework will lead to more time spent on homework, higher homework grades, and better exam performance. For a variety of reasons, homework is increasingly being auto-administered online. This paper discusses the results of a quasi-experiment designed to evaluate student behavior under single and multiple attempt homework settings using an online homework management system. The paper explores whether multiple attempts lead to more effort and improved performance, and evaluates alternative, less desirable, behaviors that are potentially incentivized. We find that multiple attempts leads to gaming behavior that results in grade inflation without improvement in learning outcomes. The findings are important in that they provide guidance and insight into best practices to maximize student outcomes when choosing online homework settings.

Suggested Citation

  • Rhodes, M. Taylor & Sarbaum, Jeffrey K., 2013. "Online Homework Management Systems: Should We Allow Multiple Attempts?," UNCG Economics Working Papers 13-14, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:uncgec:2013_014
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. William Lee & Richard H. Courtney & Steven J. Balassi, 2010. "Do Online Homework Tools Improve Student Results in Principles of Microeconomics Courses?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 283-286, May.
    2. Kim Sosin & Betty J. Lecha & Rajshree Agarwal & Robin L. Bartlett & Joseph I. Daniel, 2004. "Efficiency in the Use of Technology in Economic Education: Some Preliminary Results," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 253-258, May.
    3. Georg Schaur & Michael Watts & William E. Becker, 2008. "Assessment Practices and Trends in Undergraduate Economics Courses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 552-556, May.
    4. Wayne A. Grove & Tim Wasserman, 2006. "Incentives and Student Learning: A Natural Experiment with Economics Problem Sets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 447-452, May.
    5. Pablo Calafiore & Damian S. Damianov, 2011. "The Effect of Time Spent Online on Student Achievement in Online Economics and Finance Courses," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(3), pages 209-223, July.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Carlos Cortinhas, 2017. "Does formative feedback help or hinder students? An empirical investigation," Discussion Papers 1701, Exeter University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Student effort and performance; Assessment settings; Multiple attempts;

    JEL classification:

    • A22 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics - - - Undergraduate
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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