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SHAPING TODAY THOSE WHO WILL SHAPE TOMORROW. Differentiation in Higher Education: Does a Background in Economics improve performance? Dr Chris Jones &

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Presentation on theme: "SHAPING TODAY THOSE WHO WILL SHAPE TOMORROW. Differentiation in Higher Education: Does a Background in Economics improve performance? Dr Chris Jones &"— Presentation transcript:

1 SHAPING TODAY THOSE WHO WILL SHAPE TOMORROW

2 Differentiation in Higher Education: Does a Background in Economics improve performance? Dr Chris Jones & Anne Wheeler LSE: Developments in Economics Education Conference Tuesday 6 th September 2011

3 Introduction & Background Objective of paper: Does past study in Economics and Math's improve exam performance for students who do a 1 st year undergraduate module? This is a large module 400+ students. 10 Credits, 20 hours of lectures and 5 hours of classes. If past study of Economics improves performance should pedagogy be differentiated by streaming students by ability? This is controversial at Secondary level – have people ever considered it for Higher Education?

4 Literature Carol Tomlinsons definitions of differentiation: Differentiation is simply attending to the learning needs of a particular student or small group of students rather then the more typical pattern of teaching the class as though all individuals are the same There is almost no literature on differentiation in Higher Education. Why? There are studies that look at the determinants of degree performance: e.g. Smith & Naylor (2001) Oxford Bulletin: Age, Marital Status, Higher A-Level Score, social class have a +ve impact.

5 Simple Predictions H1: Students who have studied Economics at A-Level (or an A-Level Equivalent) prior to joining Aston University perform better in Introductory Economics than students who have not studied Economics before. H2: Students who have studied Mathematics at A-Level (or an A-Level Equivalent) prior to joining Aston University perform better in Introductory Economics than students who have not studied Mathematics before. H3: Demographic factors have a significant impact on performance in Introductory Economics.

6 Data Data Discussion >All of the data is from Student Information System >We have 3 separate cross sections – this is not panel data. > >On average there are approximately 400 observations per year. >We have data on: past study in economics and maths, sex, age, home vs. overseas, school type and parent occupational class. >Students participate in a number of different degrees. None of them study single honours Economics.

7 Descriptive Statistics

8 Grade Distributions

9 Econometric Model Model estimated by OLS and a Tobit specification because the data is censored at 40% (these are the people who pass and get given 40%). Our primary interest is beta 1 and beta 2 SchoolType = 0,1 Dummy (independent school vs. the rest) ParOccup = 0,1 Dummy (higher managerial class vs. the rest)

10 Baseline Results

11 Results including Class

12 Discussion Results & Conclusion >Past study in Economics improved test scores by between 5-8 percent >Past study in maths improved test score by between 1-3 percent >Age, sex, school type and parental class has little impact on performance. >For 2007 home students performed better by 3% on average, in 2008 & 2009 this disappeared. Should class teaching be differentiated by ability?

13 Questions?


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