Grades as Information
Posted: 6 May 2008
We determine the degree to which observed student performance in microeconomics principles can be attributed, inferentially, to three kinds of student academic productivity, the instructor, demographics, and unmeasurables. The empirical approach utilizes an ordered probit model that relates student performance in micro to grades in prior coursework, demographic information, instructor characteristics, and SAT scores. The micro grade is somewhat informative about general productivity but conveys little information about refined types of academic productivity or instructor grading standards, even though there is great variation in the average grades given by different instructors. Because of a large unpredictable component of grade determination, however, differences in micro performance across individuals are mostly attributable to non-productivity related factors. As a result, it is very difficult to improve the information individual grades provide about student productivity. Averages of several grades, however, can provide useful information about the productivity of students and the effectiveness of instructors.
Keywords: Education economics, human capital, information
JEL Classification: I29, J24, D83
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation