Seminar: Do compulsory tutorials matter? Reply

At our seminar this afternoon Debra Shepherd and Volker Schoër of Wits treated us to some interesting microeconometrics on the economics of education.

First year economics can be a tough course marked by poor pass rates. Tutorial classes are often seen as a cost-effective way to improve students’ performance. Debra argued that the academic literature on this is not conclusive. A simple cross-section regression model where the exam mark is a function of, amongst other things, tutorial attendance does not control for unobserved fixed effects and a randomized control trial or a longitudinal study is required to be able to talk about causality or impact.

They used a fuzzy discontinuity regression design to analyse the results of a quasi-experiment of tutorials and exam performance in the first-year microeconomics class at Stellenbosch University. There tutorial classes were offered to everyone, but they were compulsory for the students that failed the first class test. This left them with two factors that affected exam performance: test scores and the fact that the test performance determined how many tutorials the students attended. There were also two interesting groups to examine: those that just passed the first test and could choose to attend tutorials, and those that just failed it and were forced to attend tutorials. The rest of the analysis gets complicated but suffice to say, it seems that tutorial attendance mattered. Compulsory attendance of every tutorial class added 1.5 percentage points to the exam score for every class attended, compared to those that attended none of the tutorials.

We would like to thank Debra and Volker for making the trip and inspiring some economics education research in our School as well.

Debra Shepherd and Volker Schoër at the seminar

“Green” tourism economics Reply

The previous post told of how NWU lecturers visited the Beijing Foreign Studies University last week for some guest lectures. In one of them Prof Krugell outlined some recent research into “green” tourism that he has been doing in collaboration with Prof Melville Saayman, Alicia Fourie and Clarissa van Tonder. Here are his PowerPoint slides  for those that are interested in what economists can say about tourism and the environment:

Dosente in Beijing 1

Die afgelope week het Proff Andrea Saayman en Waldo Krugell besoek afgelê by die Beijing Foreign Studies University in Sjina.

Dit was ‘n opvolg besoek na die samewerkingsooreenkoms wat in 2011 tussen die NWU en BFSU aangegaan is. Elkeen het twee klasse vir voorgraadse groepe aangebied en saam met personeel van die Internasionale Besigheidskool vergader. Daar is belangrike raakvlakke tussen die navorsing oor uitvoer en investering in die Skool vir Ekonomie en BFSU se werk oor uitvoerders en direkte buitelandse investering. By BFSU is daar ook ‘n sterk fokus op makro-ekonomiese vraagstukke soos lande se finansiële ontwikkeling en ekonomiese groei. Daar bestaan interessante geleenthede vir gesamentlike navorsing en uitruil van personeel en studente.

Ons wil graag vir Prof Loots by die NWU en Proff Ben-Piet Venter en Janet Jin by BFSU vir al hulle werk wat die besoek moontlik gemaak het.

Prof Saayman in Sjina

Welkom Reply

Welkom by die Skool vir Ekonomie se nuwe blog. Ons wil graag die blog gebruik om, saam met die amptelike NWU webblad, ons Facebookblad en LinkedIn groep vir mense meer te vertel van die Skool. Voornemende studente, Pukke, alumni, kollegas en medewerkers kan hier meer leer oor ons onderrigleer aktiwiteite en navorsing.