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Will this be on the test? How exam structure affects perceptions of innovative assignments in a masters of science microeconomics course

Kelly A. Grogan

International Review of Economics Education, 2017, vol. 26, issue C, 1-8

Abstract: During the 2014 and 2015 offerings of a Masters of Science-level microeconomics course in an agricultural economics department, writing assignments and in-class application exercises were added to reach higher learning objectives, including application, analysis, synthesis, or evaluation. In 2014, problem sets and exams remained focused on knowledge and comprehension. At the end of the semester, for each assignment type, the students were asked about how well the experimental assignments increased their understanding of course material. Second, they were asked to rank assignments based on how helpful they were in developing understanding of material. While students were observed applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating models learned in class while working on the experimental assignments, in 2014 problem sets and exams ranked higher than the experimental assignments. In 2015, application-type questions were added to exams, under the hypothesis that students used exam performance as their benchmark of knowledge acquisition. In 2015, students still ranked problem sets first according to questions 1 and 2, but writing assignments moved into second place. Interestingly, studying for exams ranked last according to question 2 in 2015. Comparing across years, the level of importance attributed to writing assignments was statistically significantly higher in 2015, suggesting that exam content affected students’ perceptions of the writing assignments.

Keywords: Active learning; Application; Bloom’s taxonomy; Flipped classroom; Writing assignments (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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