Performance Determinants in Undergraduate Economics Classes: The Effect of Cognitive Reflection

International Review of Economics Education, Vol. 11, No. 2, 2012

Posted: 13 Apr 2014

See all articles by Alexei G. Orlov

Alexei G. Orlov

Securities and Exchange Commission

John Roufagalas

Troy University - Montgomery

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

Economics classes claim to develop students' "analytical" abilities and "problem-solving" skills. Assessment of such claims is rather difficult, since it requires measurement of advanced thinking processes. Aptitude tests, such as the SAT, ACT (standardised tests for college admissions in the U.S.), and GRE (a standardised test for post-graduate admissions), purport to provide measures of such processes, but their questions refer to relatively simple thinking processes. Frederick (2005) has developed the "Cognitive Reflection Test" (CRT) to measure human ability to think deeper. The test contains questions whose apparent answers are incorrect and therefore further reflection is needed to arrive at the correct answers. Many economic problems fall into such a category. Our results suggest that CRT scores are higher and have a significant positive effect on exam performance in upper-level economics classes. In these classes, students with the highest CRT score outperform, on average, students with the lowest CRT score by more than half a letter grade, everything else the same.

Keywords: Student performance, Undergraduate economics, cognitive reflection, CRT

JEL Classification: A22, C13

Suggested Citation

Orlov, Alexei G. and Roufagalas, John, Performance Determinants in Undergraduate Economics Classes: The Effect of Cognitive Reflection (2012). International Review of Economics Education, Vol. 11, No. 2, 2012, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2424353

Alexei G. Orlov (Contact Author)

Securities and Exchange Commission ( email )

100 F Street NE
Washington, DC 20549
United States

John Roufagalas

Troy University - Montgomery ( email )

Troy, AL
United States

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