Eastern Economic Journal

, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 381–400

School, Department, and Instructor Determinants of Assessment Methods in Undergraduate Economics Courses

  • Georg Schaur
  • Michael Watts
  • William E Becker

DOI: 10.1057/eej.2011.20

Cite this article as:
Schaur, G., Watts, M. & Becker, W. Eastern Econ J (2012) 38: 381. doi:10.1057/eej.2011.20


We identify factors related to instructors’ choice of assessment methods in undergraduate economics courses, using national survey data collected in 1995, 2000, and 2005. Respondents were asked to indicate which of 10 different assessment methods they used in four different types of courses (principles, intermediate theory, econometrics and statistics, and other upper-division field courses), and to provide background information on school, department, and individual factors that might influence the choice of assessment methods, including time spent on research vs teaching, perceived incentives/rewards for those activities in their departments and schools, class size, and the individual instructor's rank, years of teaching experience, gender, and native language. Both probit and OLS specifications show most of these individual variables to be important in determining the choice of assessment methods in at least some types of courses, but only rarely across all types of courses. Two variables reflecting school missions and departmental policies are, however, important determinants of using essay questions and longer written assignments, such as term papers: class size (especially classes with more than 40 students) and semester teaching loads for faculty members.


teaching assessment undergraduate economics 

JEL Classifications

A10 A22 

Copyright information

© Eastern Economic Association 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Georg Schaur
    • 1
  • Michael Watts
    • 2
  • William E Becker
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  3. 3.Indiana University
  4. 4.University of South Australia
  5. 5.Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
  6. 6.Center for Economic Studies and Institute for Economic Research (CESifo)BloomingtonUSA

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