A short introductory test can predict academic success during the first year of study in economics

Sample assignment from the entrance test TEL-IV. Courtesy: Patient / Council on Economic Education (CEE), USA.

German researchers from Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz (JGU) and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin found that even a short test can reliably predict students' success in their first year of study in economics – much better than an intelligence test or predictions based on school grades . Inspired by the large number of studies that dropped out in this field, the researchers found out whether it is possible and how to successfully predict the success of studies in economics at the beginning of the course. They found that a short entrance test could predict student grades in subjects after the first year of study. “This means that we could use a short standardized entrance test to objectively and reliably assess the prerequisites for future students' admission that are relevant to their educational progress,” said research project managers Professor Olga Zlatkin-Troitskaya and Professor Hans Anand Pant .

High dropout rates in the economy

In Germany, about 450,000 young people attend economics courses every year. However, almost one in four drop out, and in some institutions this figure is even higher. This growing dropout rate is a consequence of the increasingly heterogeneous student-related preconditions, which are also affected by different ways of gaining access to the German higher education system, including international mobility, as well as different requirements for the German language. federal states, for example, in terms of school curriculum and final exams (Abitur).

WiWiSET Project Shows Practical Benefits and Entrance Testing Potential

To date, the only acceptance criterion for studying economics has been the graduation class (Abitur). As a rule, no special prior knowledge is required for this subject area. In the project “WiWiSET: University Validation” entrance Test in Economics ”, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Science (BMBF), researchers in Mainz and Berlin studied whether a standardized entrance test with selected tasks can reliably measure the state of previous knowledge in the field of economics and, thus, allows for a reliable forecast of progress learning. The economic literacy test (TEL-IV) used in the study was developed in the United States and adapted by the WiWiSET team to the context of a German university (TEL-D). Nearly 4,000 student economists in a total of 41 universities and colleges throughout Germany were involved in a representative survey. Two rounds of the survey were conducted over the course of three years, during which students were first interviewed before starting their studies and then at the end of the second or the beginning of the third semester.

The TEL-D introductory test for a specific subject area was used to assess whether freshmen have a fundamental understanding of macroeconomic and microeconomic relationships, which are usually acquired, for example, in commercial studies or in an advanced business course in high school. “This test is not focused on general cognitive skills, but on objective thinking and understanding, such as the fundamental concept of supply and demand,” explained Professor Olga Zlatkina-Troitskaya. Professor Hans Anand Pant said: “In addition, a successful study of the economy requires a lot of mathematical and statistical and methodological knowledge. This is often underestimated by freshmen. More than 80 percent of students do not know what the study of economics is. really means. "

TEL-D introductory test is diagnostically more convincing than intelligence tests or school grades

Researchers were able to show that academic success, as measured by students' academic assessments, can be significantly predicted after the first year of study in all economic disciplines. Thus, TEL-D is able to reliably predict student performance as well as student dropout rates during the first year of study. Neither intelligence test used for comparison, but only the Abitur score provides the same accuracy.

Based on these findings, project managers Professor Olga Zlatkin-Troitskaya and Professor Hans Anand Pant emphasized that students' learning potential and previous knowledge should be systematically taken into account to reduce the current high student failure rate and dropout rate. “Unfortunately, advanced training courses at the beginning of training are effective only in rare cases,” concluded Zlatkin-Troitskaya. “We saw that it was the students’ preliminary knowledge and skills that were crucial in the preparatory phase of training. ” These capabilities can be evaluated at a minimal cost and from a technical point of view using a short entry for a specific domain. testFor example, TEL-D can be completed in 10 minutes in its short version and in 25-30 minutes in its long version and provides a much better prognosis than the usual qualifications for university entrance.

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A short introductory test can predict academic success during the first year of study in economics (2020, March 13)
retrieved March 13, 2020
from https://phys.org/news/2020-03-entrance-academic-success-year-economics.html

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