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Economics

College or Campus: College of Arts and Sciences

Student Learning Outcomes

Mission Statement : Through the teaching of microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics, the undergraduate Economics programs help students to establish in-depth understanding of the functioning of domestic and global economies and to develop the necessary and portable skills to perform economic analysis for both public and private sector positions as well as for graduate studies in related fields.

Learning Outcomes

The Department of Economics has established the following learning outcomes for its undergraduate programs - BA4221 and BS4225:

Economics Knowledge:

  1. Students will learn how markets organize core economic activities, such as production, distribution, and consumption, and the growth of productive resources.
  2. Students will learn about the determinants of macroeconomic conditions (national output, employment, and inflation), causes of business cycles, and interactions of monetary and fiscal policy.
  3. Students will learn to apply economic theories and methodologies in analyzing economic issues in various sub-fields of applied microeconomics and international economics.

Analytical Skills in Economics:

  1. Analytical and economic reasoning skills: deduce reasonable predictions about possible economic outcomes based upon economic conditions and economic theories.
  2. Quantitative analytical skills: collect and analyze data to support economic decision making using statistical and econometric techniques.
  3. Critical thinking skills: evaluate and critique alternative economic policies.
  4. Self development skills: learn new theories about economic activities, create explanations for new economic phenomena and device innovative approaches to solve various economic problems.

Assessment Plan

The Department of Economics will use both direct and indirect measures of student learning.

Direct Measures:

  1. Capstone projects from Econ4850. The projects are directly related to learning outcomes in Analytical Skills in Economics. The assessment committee will review finished sample projects from the capstone course using the assessment rubrics in the appendix.
  2. Scores from the REVISED Test of Understanding in College Economics (TUCE). TUCE is an assessment tool created by the National Council for Economic Education. The test is a standardized test of economics nationally norm-referenced in the United States. The test is a direct measure of learning outcomes in both Economics Knowledge and Analytical Skills in Economics.

Indirect Measures:

  1. Faculty consensus/feedbacks on program improvement through undergraduate committee and assessment committee meetings.
  2. Survey and interviews from outgoing cohort students on the learning outcomes and possible program improvements in achieving them.
  3. Follow-up survey to recent graduates on program learning outcome achievements and improvements.
  4. Survey and interview the members of advisory committee for Department of Economics on program learning outcome achievements and improvements.

Implementation and Utilization:

Direct Measures:

  1. The three-year cycle: The assessment committee have successfully implemented the direct measure 2, the revised TUCE tests in the 2016-2017 academic year and we plan to implement the direct measure 1 in the 2017-2018 academic year. We then will skip one year so that faculty can adjust their teaching practices according to improvement suggestions based on the assessment results. This means the direct measures are implemented on a three year cycle.

Indirect Measure:

  1. Faculty meetings for the undergraduate committee and the assessment committee should be held at the beginning of every academic year to review and discuss the newest assessment results and possible improvements.
  2. Indirect Measures 2, 3 and 4 can be implemented on a three-year cycle according to the following order: The out-going cohort survey and interviews (2) have been conducted at the end of 2016-2017 academic year and we will conduct the follow-up survey to recent graduate (3) in 2017-2018 academic year, the survey and interview of the advisory committee (4) in 2018-2019.

Utilization:

Because relative shortcomings in the students learning outcomes can be directly revealed by our direct and indirect measures, faculty meetings will focus on identifying the possible causes of and formalizing remedies for the shortcomings found. The assessment committee and the undergraduate committee will work together via round table discussions to review the assessment results from various measures and come to a consensus on possible improvements. Both changes in teaching practices and curriculum modification will be considered based on the findings. Seminars or round table discussions on teaching methodology will be held so that faculty members can share their experiences on best practices to improve student learning outcomes. Curriculum changes are subject to approval by the departmental committees and university committees.

Appendix: Rubrics for Assessment of Learning Outcomes

 

Level

Score

Criteria

Economic Knowledge

 

Excellent

3

  • Demonstrates in-depth understanding of the key economic factors in the economic issues under study with clearly explained details that are particular to the situation.
  • Appropriately applies theories and methodologies in analyzing the economic issues under study with adjustments in assumptions that reflecting the particular situation.

 

Acceptable

2

  • Correctly identifies the various driving forces or factors in the economic issues under study.
  • Utilizes the correct or most relevant economic theories or methodologies in economic analyses.

 

Weak

1

  • Most economic forces or factors are identified correctly, but minor misunderstandings exist on some of the concepts.
  • The basic analyses of the economic issue are plausible with some minor mistakes in reasoning or minor errors in conclusions.

 

Deficient

0

  • Exhibits major misunderstanding of key economic factors or forces in the economic issue under study.
  • Key conclusions are incorrect due to misuse of economic theories, erroneous reasoning or both.

Analytical Skills

 

Excellent

3

  • Demonstrates logical, coherent and clear economic reasoning in analyzing economic phenomena and predicting possible economic outcomes.
  • Clearly distinguishes: assumptions vs. conclusions, normative vs. positive statements, causes vs. consequences.
  • Provides logical, coherent and clear economic reasoning when debating alternative explanations for an economic issue under study.
  • Creates clearly labeled illustrations of diagrams which effectively facilitate the analysis of economic problems.

 

Acceptable

2

  • Provides plausible explanations to an economic issue using some logical reasoning with some degree of coherence and clarity.
  • In formulating an economic argument, can largely distinguish: assumptions vs. conclusions, normative vs. positive statements, causes vs. consequences.
  • Provides reasonably plausible arguments when debating alternative explanations for an economic issue under study.
  • Creates some illustrations or diagrams that are helpful to communicate the analysis of economic problems.

 

Weak

1

  • Provides some explanations to an economic issue with weak logical reasoning and low degrees of coherence and clarity.
  • In formulating an economic argument, occasionally mixes up: assumptions vs. conclusions, normative vs. positive statements, causes vs. consequences.
  • Dismisses alternative explanations for an economic issue under study without clear analyses or reasoning.
  • The provided illustrations or diagrams are not clearly labeled, only loosely connected to the analysis performed or with insufficient explanations.

 

Deficient

0

  • Lacks logical reasoning in explaining or analyzing an economic issue under study.
  • In formulating an economic argument, constantly mixes up: assumptions vs. conclusions, normative vs. positive statements, causes vs. consequences.
  • Dismisses alternative explanations for an economic issue under study with illogical argument or based on misunderstandings.
  • The provided illustrations or diagrams are labeled wrong, unrelated or unhelpful to the analysis performed or without necessary explanations.

 

Quantitative Analytical Skills

 

Excellent

3

  • Collects sufficient and relevant data that can provide insight in the economic issues under study and generate meaningful statistical conclusions.
  • When analyzing collected data, correctly chooses the relevant statistics and econometric models, with necessary modifications.
  • Accurately interprets the statistical results from the quantitative analysis.

 

Acceptable

2

  • Data Collected are relevant for the analysis of the economic issues under study and has potential to provide some statistical insights.
  • Provides the relevant statistics and apply econometric models that are commonly used in analyzing the economic issues under study.
  • Correctly interprets most of the statistical results from the quantitative analyses performed.

 

Weak

1

  • Data collected are loosely related to the analysis of the economic issues under study and have limited potential to provide statistical insights.
  • The statistics provided and the econometric models applied has weak relationships to the economic issues under study.
  • Interpretations of the statistical results are exaggerated or contain minor mistakes.

 

Deficient

0

  • Data Collected are unrelated to the analysis of the economic issues under study and cannot provide statistical insights.
  • The statistics provided and the econometric models applied are not suitable to analyzing the economic issues under study.
  • Interpretations of the statistical results are incorrect.

 

Critical Thinking Skills

 

Excellent

3

  • Clearly distinguishes various alternative or related explanations of the economic issue under study with a detailed comparison of their differences and similarities.
  • Accurately describes the advantages and shortcomings of alternative or related explanations of the economic issue under study.
  • Clearly explains the potential flaws in one’s own arguments or explanations for the economic issue under study.

 

Acceptable

2

  • Compares alternative or related explanations of the economic issue under study with some clarity.
  • Offers reasonably clear descriptions for the advantages and shortcomings of alternative or related explanations of the economic issue under study.
  • Explains limitations in one’s own arguments or explanations for the economic issue under study with some clarity.

 

Weak

1

  • Compares alternative or related explanations of the economic issue under study without clarity.
  • Offers vague descriptions for the advantages and shortcomings of alternative or related explanations of the economic issue under study.
  • Vaguely explains or fails to realize minor limitations in one’s own arguments or explanations for the economic issue under study.

 

Deficient

0

  • Fails to distinguish alternative or related explanations of the economic issue under study.
  • Fails to recognize the advantages and shortcomings of alternative or related explanations of the economic issue under study.
  • Fails to recognize the major limitations in one’s own arguments or explanations for the economic issue under study.

Self-development Skills

 

Excellent

3

  • The expositions of concepts or theories not taught in the Economics curriculum are clear, precise and intuitive.
  • Formulates new concepts, measures or theories in explaining new economic phenomenon, which can facilitate logical understanding and analyses.
  • Correctly invents new methodology or modifies existing methodology in analyzing new or unique economic phenomenon.

 

Acceptable

2

  • The expositions of concepts or theories not taught in the Economics curriculum are reasonably clear.
  • Formulates new concepts, measures or theories in explaining new economic phenomenon, providing some insights into it.
  • Attempts to invent new methodology or modify existing methodology in analyzing new or unique economic phenomenon.

 

Weak

1

  • The expositions of concepts or theories not taught in the Economics curriculum are reasonably understandable but not very clear.
  • Newly formulated concepts, measures or theories are not very well defined or explained or can only provide limited insights.
  • Makes limited attempts to modify existing methodology in analyzing new or unique economic phenomenon.

 

Deficient

0

  • The expositions of concepts or theories not taught in the Economics curriculum are not explained clearly.
  • Formulates no new concepts, measures or theories in explaining apparently unique new economic phenomenon where existing economic tools are not suitable to explain.
  • Makes no attempts to modify existing methodology in analyzing new or unique economic phenomenon, which leads to erroneous predictions.

Evidence of Student Learning

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Use of Student Learning Evidence

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