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Using Writing to Enhance Student Learning in Undergraduate Economics


  • Steven A. Greenlaw

    (Mary Washington College)


Using Writing to Enhance Student Learning in Undergraduate Economics. Traditionally, principles of economics has been taught predominantly as a lecture class. Recent literature on pedagogy suggests that students learn more from an "active learning" approach, which engages students in ways that lectures often do not. One method of promoting active learning is to incorporate student writing in the principles course, especially when instructors apply the principles of the "Writing Across the Curriculum" approach, as described by Petr (1990), and Cohen and Spencer (1993). This paper explains an experiment I did last year to test this approach. I taught two sections of macro principles, which were identical, except that one included a series of writing assignments, while the other did not. The examinations for both sections were the same. I assessed the experiment using several measures and concluded that the writing augmented section showed greater learning. The results were striking enough, that I thought I'd like to share them with other faculty who are interested in teaching.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven A. Greenlaw, 1999. "Using Writing to Enhance Student Learning in Undergraduate Economics," General Economics and Teaching 9904002, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpgt:9904002
    Note: Type of Document - HTML doc; prepared on IBM PC ; to print on HP Deskjet 500; figures: Included in the text. Questions and comments welcom.

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Siegfried, John J & Fels, Rendigs, 1979. "Research on Teaching College Economics: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 923-969, September.
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    More about this item


    Writing Across the Curriculum; Teaching Effectiveness; Principles of Economics;

    JEL classification:

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


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