Do Students Know Best? Choice, Classroom Time, and Academic Performance

31 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2015

See all articles by Theodore Joyce

Theodore Joyce

CUNY Baruch College - Zicklin School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Sean Crockett

City University of New York, Baruch College - Zicklin School of Business - Department of Economics and Finance

David A. Jaeger

Ph.D. Program in Economics, City University of New York Graduate Center; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); University of Cologne - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); University College London - CReAM - Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration

Onur Altindag

City University of New York

Stephen D. O'Connell

Emory University

Dahlia Remler

City University of New York - Baruch College - Marxe School of Public and International Affairs; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); CUNY The Graduate Center - Department of Economics

Date Written: October 2015

Abstract

We compare student academic performance in traditional twice-a-week and compressed once-a-week lecture formats in introductory microeconomics between one semester in which students were randomly assigned into the formats and another semester when students were allowed to choose their format. In each semester we offered the same course with the sections taught at the same times in the same classrooms by the same professors using the same book, software and lecture slides. Our study design is modeled after a doubly randomized preference trial (DRPT), which provides insights regarding external validity beyond what is possible from a single randomized study. Our goal is to assess whether having a choice modifies the treatment effect of format. Students in the compressed format of the randomized arm of the study scored -0.19 standard deviations less on the combined midterm and final (p<.01) and -0.14 standard deviation less in choice arm (p<.01). There was little evidence of selection bias in choice of format. Future analyses of online learning formats employing randomization should consider DRPT designs to enhance the generalizability of results.

Suggested Citation

Joyce, Theodore J. and Crockett, Sean and Jaeger, David A. and Altindag, Onur and O'Connell, Stephen D. and Remler, Dahlia, Do Students Know Best? Choice, Classroom Time, and Academic Performance (October 2015). NBER Working Paper No. w21656. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2679694

Theodore J. Joyce (Contact Author)

CUNY Baruch College - Zicklin School of Business ( email )

17 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10010
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

365 Fifth Avenue, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10016-4309
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Sean Crockett

City University of New York, Baruch College - Zicklin School of Business - Department of Economics and Finance ( email )

Zicklin School of Business
55 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10010
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.seanmcrockett.com

David A. Jaeger

Ph.D. Program in Economics, City University of New York Graduate Center ( email )

NBER
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New York, NY 10004
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.djaeger.org

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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University of Cologne - Department of Economics ( email )

Cologne, 50923
Germany

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Bonn, 53113
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.iza.org

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

University College London - CReAM - Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration ( email )

Drayton House
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London, WC1H 0AX
United Kingdom

Onur Altindag

City University of New York ( email )

695 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021
United States

Stephen D. O'Connell

Emory University ( email )

1602 Fishburne Drive
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States

Dahlia Remler

City University of New York - Baruch College - Marxe School of Public and International Affairs ( email )

135 E 22nd St
New York, NY 10010
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

CUNY The Graduate Center - Department of Economics ( email )

365 Fifth Avenue, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10016
United States

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