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Improving student outcomes in large introductory courses

Catherine Boulatoff and Teresa L. Cyrus

International Review of Economics Education, 2022, vol. 41, issue C

Abstract: Large introductory courses may be cost-effective for universities, but present many drawbacks, including student absenteeism, high failure rates, and reduced learning. We undertook a re-design of our Principles of Economics courses in order to improve the learning outcomes for collaborative, dependent, and independent learners, by introducing three changes: mandatory tutorials with active learning activities; consistency in course instructors; and online quizzes. We administered a survey to students before and after the intervention to evaluate the impact of these changes on three learning outcomes: final grades, final exam scores, and self-reported learning. Our results show that the intervention positively impacted all learning outcomes, primarily due to increased tutorial attendance. Encouragingly, the strongest improvement occurred for students at the low end of the grade distribution.

Keywords: Class size; Principles of economics; Teaching methods (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A20 A22 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1016/j.iree.2022.100247

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