Learning in the Time of COVID-19
Forthcoming, International Review of Economic Education
54 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2020 Last revised: 5 Apr 2021
Date Written: March 31, 2021
I In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, universities closed to face-to-face learning, shifting entirely to online instruction midway through the spring 2020 semester. In this paper, we compare student performance in the COVID-19 affected semester to that of the previous three unaffected semesters. We consider both student grades and student performance on standardized post-tests in introductory macroeconomics, microeconomics, and statistics courses. We conclude that there were no significant differences in performance across the semesters. Despite concerns that low-income, first-generation, and minority students could suffer disproportionately, we identify no measurable effect for these population subgroups. Women are found to overperform in the COVID-affected semester when compared to previous terms. Women at our institution could be expected to earn 0.15 of a grade-point less in introductory economics courses than otherwise comparable men in pre-COVID semesters. In the COVID-affected semester, this difference disappeared, with women earning higher grades, on average, than men.
Keywords: Economics Education, COVID-19, Online Learning, Colleges and Universities, Coronavirus
JEL Classification: A10, A20, A22, I23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation