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April 9th 2014

Measuring College Learning in Economics: An Initial Conversation with Faculty

On April 9, 2014, the SSRC’s Education Research Program convened a group of economists with a proven passion for education to discuss ways to define and measure learning outcomes in economics. This was the first in a series of economics-focused meetings for the Measuring College Learning Project (MCL), a new Education Research Program initiative that aims to develop faculty’s capacity to understand field-specific learning outcomes. Click here to learn more about MCL.

The main objective of the convening was to engage faculty in a consensus-oriented discussion about what economics undergraduates should learn at the introductory and major level. The goal was not to generate an exhaustive list of learning outcomes, but rather to think about a small set of empirically measurable “essential representative competencies”— i.e., skills and habits of mind—that economics students should be expected to develop over time. Referencing existing work on this topic (e.g. the Tuning-AHELO project’s Agreed Learning Outcomes for economics majors, and the Council for Economic Education’s Voluntary National Content Standards), faculty considered a range of ways to conceive of and categorize “essential representative competencies” for economics undergraduates.  

This meeting generated significant agreement around learning outcomes for economics undergraduates and set the stage for a second meeting, where participants will focus on designing a high-quality tool that can measure economics students’ learning over time.

Location: Social Science Research Council

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