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Student Demographics and the Impact of Team-Based Learning

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The use of active learning strategies has frequently been suggested as a way of helping disadvantaged students bridge the achievement gap as all of the usual advantages of active learning (more hands-on nature, focus on problem solving and critical thinking, etc.) are seen as particularly important to this group. This paper examines differences in student outcomes and experiences with Team-Based Learning (TBL) on the basis of several demographic characteristics (age, gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status). The study population includes students in principles-level economics courses and undergraduate and Master of Business Administration (MBA)-level quantitative methods courses at a mid-sized state university. We find a small, significant improvement in learning outcomes for low-income and minority students when compared to others. We also document several differences in the subjective experiences of minority and low-income students with TBL-based courses.

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The author acknowledges Keri Potter for capable research assistance related to this project and the participants at the 76th International Atlantic Economic Conference,Philadelphia, PA, October 10-13, 2013, for helpful suggestions on an earlier draft.

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Correspondence to Paul L. Hettler.

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Hettler, P.L. Student Demographics and the Impact of Team-Based Learning. Int Adv Econ Res 21, 413–422 (2015).

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JEL Classification

  • A20


  • Economics pedagogy
  • Team-based learning
  • Active learning strategies
  • Demographics