We examine whether on-line remedial mathematics reviews can improve student performance in introductory microeconomics. In treatment sections, graded pre- and posttests were used to assess student understanding of graphing, systems of linear equations, area, slope, ratios and percentages. Students had on-line reviews and tutorials available between completing the tests. Pre- and posttest scores are positively and significantly related to course grade, more so than variables designating which mathematics courses have been taken by students. Ordered pro bit analysis suggests that each additional question answered correctly on the posttest over the initial pretest score is significantly related to final course grade, with students in the treatment sections earning on average 0.20 of a letter grade higher.
On-Line Mathematics Reviews and Performance in Introductory Microeconomics
INTRODUCTIONEven at the introductory level, the abilities to think mathematically and reason abstractly have been shown to be important contributors to student success in economics, and many studies in economics education have attempted to control for students' mathematical backgrounds in their analysis. Durden and Ellis (1995) and Williams, Waldauer, and Duggal (1992) use Math SAT score as a measure of student mathematics ability and find that Math SAT score is positively and significantly correlated with student performance in economics courses. Anderson, Benjamin, and Fuss (1994), Brasfield, Harrison, and McCoy (1993), Brown and Leidholm (2002), Ely and Hittle (1990) and Lumsden and Scott (1987) include in their regressions of student performance the types of mathematics courses taken by students. These studies argue that the mathematics classes a student has taken are areasonable proxy for student mathematics ability. Ballard and Johnson (2004) find that the mastery of very basic mathematics concepts is one of the most significant contributors to student success in introductory microeconomics; they argue that studies that emphasize whether a student has taken calculus does not measure the influence of calculus per se, but rather measures the fact that students taking calculus are more likely to have mastered the basic mathematics concepts important for introductory economics.The results of these studies suggest potential gains in student mastery of economics concepts if greater emphasis is pl...