Tài liệu Determinants of student's learning case study in macroeconomics at the university of econommics-ho chi minh city luận văn thạc sĩ

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I UNIVERSITY OF ECONOMICS INSTITUTE OF SOCIAL STUDIES HO CHI MINH CITY - VIETNAM THE HAGUE - THE NETHERLANDS THE VIETNAM- NETHERLANDS PROGRAMME FOR M.A IN DEVELOPMENT ECONOMICS DETERMINANTS OF STUDENT'S LEARNING: CASE STUDY IN MACROECONOMICS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ECONOMICS- HO CHI MINH CITY ~ -~-~-- ~ -~~- --~-- By Le Thanh Nhan MASTER OF ARTS IN DEVELOPMENT ECONOMICS • BQ GIAO DVC DAO T~O TRliONG fl~l HQC KINH TE TP.HCM THU'VIEN ~J ~{r HO CHI MINH CITY, NOVEMBER 2009 UNIVERSITY OF ECONOMICS INSTITUTE OF SOCIAL STUDIES HO CHI MINH CITY - VIETNAM THE HAGUE -THE NETHERLANDS THE VIETNAM- NETHERLANDS PROGRAMME FOR M.A IN DEVELOPMENT ECONOMICS A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of MASTER OF ARTS IN DEVELOPMENT ECONOMICS DETERMINANTS OF STUDENT'S LEARNING: CASE STUDY IN MACROECONOMICS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ECONOMICS- HO CHI MINH CITY By Le Thanh Nhan Academic Supervisors: - Assoc. Prof. Nguyen Trong Hoai, PhD - Chau Van Thanh, M.A HO CHI MINH CITY, NOVEMBER 2009 CERTIFICATION I declare that the thesis hereby submitted for the Master degree at the Vietnam Netherlands Programme for M.A in Development Economics is my own work and has not been previously submitted by me at another university for any degree. I cede copyright of the thesis in favor of the Vietnam - Netherlands programme for M.A in Development Economics at the University of Economics, Ho Chi Minh City. Ho Chi Minh City, November 2009 Le Thanh Nhan 1 ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I would like to express my gratitude to all those who gave me the possibility to complete this thesis. I am most grateful to my supervisors, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Trong Hoai and Mr. Chau Van Thanh, who have instructed, encouraged and given me comments for my thesis, as well as forgiven my mistakes while I was carrying out this research. I would like to thank to all lectures and staff of the Vietnam - Netherlands Programme at the University of Economics, Ho Chi Minh City . . I also want to say thank you to my colleagues and friends at the Office of Undergraduate Training and Students Service Office at the University of Economics, Ho Chi Minh City for their assistance in the process of my thesis completion. Finally, I especially thank to my partner friend, who hel_2ed _me in __finding __ materials, designing the survey and collecting data for the thesis. 11 ABSTRACT The objective of this thesis is to fmd out the determinants that influence the performance of studying macroeconomics and their relationships. The scope of this research is limited to sophomore students at the University of Economics, Ho Chi Minh City. In the conceptual framework, hypotheses about determinants related to performance of studying macroeconomics were proposed. They are students' aptitude, efforts, attitude toward economics along with their personal characteristics. A survey designed from Survey Economic Attitude from the National Committee on Economic Attitude Measurement has been used with Exploratory Factor Analysis to measure if the theoretical constructs in this research were satisfactory in terms of reliability and validity. The relationships and hypotheses then have been tested by using a Two Stage Least Square method. The main findings are the significant impacts of aptitude and efforts on studying_ __ .... ···-macroeconomics but the attitude toward it. 111 TABLE OF CONTENTS CERTIFICATION ................................................................................................... i AC:KN"OWLEDGEMENT ..................................................................................... ii ABSTRACT ............................................................................................................ iii TABLE OF CONTENTS ...................................................................................... iv LIST OF TABLES ................................................................................................ vii LIST OF FIRGUES .............................................................................................. vii Chapter 1: Introduction ......................................................................................... 1 1.1 Problem statement .......................................................................................... 1 1.2 Research Objectives ........................................................................................ 3 1. 3 Research questions ......................................................................................... 4 1. 4. Research methodology ................................................................................... 4 1. 5 Delimitation .................................................................................................... 4 1.6 Thesis structure: ............................................................................................. 5 - -ehapter~:-biterature-review: ....... ~.-:~~:.~:-.~:~~::::~·.--::.::.~-.-.--:.-:::::-::-.~~~~~~~~:-:-.-:-.-:~~~~: ..-.::.~6----- 2.1 Definitions ....................................................................................................... 6 2.2 Theoretical backgrounds ................................................................................ 6 2.2.1 Student learning ..................................................................................... 10 2.2.2 Aptitude .................................................................................................. 11 2.2.3 Efforts .................................................................................................... 12 2.2.4 Attitude ................................................................................................... 12 2. 3 Empirical studies .......................................................................................... 13 2.4 Chapter remarks: .......................................................................................... 18 IV Chapter 3: Research Methodology ...................................................................... 19 3.1 Independent variables and its measurement ................................................. 19 3.2 Descriptive analysis ...................................................................................... 22 3.3 Empirical research model ............................................................................. 22 3. 4 Sampling process .......................................................................................... 23 3.5 Research context ........................................................................................... 24 3.6 Chapter remarks: .......................................................................................... 28 Chapter 4: Research findings .............................................................................. 29 4.1 Sample description ....................................................................................... 29 4.2 Gender .......................................................................................................... 29 4.3 Location ........................................................................................................ 30 4.4 Attitude and efforts toward macroeconomics ............................................... 32 4. 5 Reliability analysis ........................................................................................ 34 4.6 Factor analysis ............................................................................................. 35 -- ----4;'1-Betermlnants-injluence-macroeconomics-scor~ ............................ :-~37 ___ Chapter 5: Conclusions, Policy recommendation and limitations ................... 41 5.1 Conclusions ................................................................................................... 41 5.2 Recommendations ......................................................................................... 43 5. 3 Limitations ofthe research ........................................................................... 44 REFERENCES ...................................................................................................... 45 APPENDICES ....................................................................................................... 50 v ABBREVIATIONS - ACT: American College Testing - ATE: Attitude Toward Economics - GPA: Grade Point Average - MOET: Ministry of Education and Training - NUEE: National University Entrance Examination - OLS: Ordinary Least Squares - SAT: Scholastic Aptitude Test - SEA: Survey Economic Attitude - TSLS: Two-Stage Least Squares - TUCE: Test of Understanding of College Economics - UEH: University of Economics, Ho Chi Minh City - UTSS: Undergraduate Training and Student Services - WTO: World Trade Organization vi LIST OFTABLES Table 4.1: Gender and Average ofMacroeconomics score Table 4.2: Testing the Mean Difference between two groups of gender Table 4.3: Descriptive analysis of location and average macroeconomics score Table 4.4: ANOVA analysis the difference between groups of location Table 4.5: Test of Homogeneity of Variances among locations Table 4.6: Tamhane test for the specific differences between groups oflocation Table 4.7: Attitude toward macroeconomics before studying Table 4.8: Attitude toward macroeconomics after studying Table 4.9: Efforts toward studying macroeconomics Table 4.10: Reliability statistics about efforts and attitude toward macroeconomics Table 4.11: Factor analysis for attitude before studying macroeconomics Table 4.12: Factor analysis for attitude after studying macroeconomics Table 4.13: Factor analysis for efforts toward studying macroeconomics Table 4.14: Summary ofthe hypotheses testing LIST OF FIRGUES Ftgure 2.1: Circular flow of influence from attitude through intention to performance as a feedback influence on attitude Figure 2.2: Conceptual framework vii Chapter 1: Introduction 1.1 Problem statement The economic development in Vietnam was very impressive during the I990 decade. The growth of the economy comes along with many factors, directly and · indirectly. One of them is from education, in my opinion. Although there have been some controversies about the progression as well as the fall while some renovations were deployed during last more than I 0 years, nowadays, many (domestic and oversea) professors pay attention to a vast and complete educational renovation again, especially when Vietnam has accessed to WTO since 2006. A system of education stretches from kindergarten to higher education. The rapid economic development brings about high demand of labor, so does the demand of managers. Then, a high proportion of high school pupils apply to universities which are major in economics and business administration. So are in-service students. The number of students enrolled in universities major in economics and business administration has been always higher than other disciplines recently. Vietnamese people usually say that "first business, second medicine". A famous ancient scholar Le Quy Don said that "No trade no wealth". Another example is about the higher demand in field of finance and banking after stock market was established in Vietnam since 200 I, lead to a number of faculties and universities focus in this field has grown while people are in doubt about their quality. Therefore, quality assurance of learning and teaching principles of economics is so quite important. In the field of economics and business administration, it is much concerned about economics education at the undergraduate level. In my opinion, principles of economics are basic courses for any student, not only in universities of economics and business administration but also some other universities of social science. At the University of Economics, Ho Chi Minh City (UEH), although they are compulsory subjects, only a small ratio of students paid high attention and spend I more time on studying economics while the total load of education has been decreasing recently, generally about 240 credits required for an undergraduate student in 2004 reduced to 180 since 2006 (UEH 2006). The average score of microeconomics and macroeconomics at UEH in the last school year is only about 6.22 - 6.42 over 10, most focus on the range from 5 to 7 (Data from UTSS Office). In a recent contest "Commentary essays for Vietnamese economy in 2008" organized by Student and Youth Union at UEH, only a little number of students could apply economics knowledge into their papers (UEH Youth Union 2008). So in this research, a wonder about which factors affected the outcome of a student studying principles of economics at the UEH has been raised. Then we could find out how to improve their performance as well as students classification for a better outcome. What determinants that influence student learning economics? Many economic education studies have attempted to answer this question. A number of studies have examined the impact of student characteristics on student performance in \ introductory economics courses (Myatt and Waddel 1990; Anderson, Benjamin and Fuss 1994; Brasfield, Harrison and McCoy 1993, Betts and Morell 1999). Other studies evaluated the effectiveness of alternative methods of teaching on students' study result (Davisson and Bonello 1976; Paden, Dalgaard and Barr 1977; Attiyeh, Bach and Lumsen 1969-1970; Bach and Saunders 1965; Charkins, O'Toole and Wetzel 1983). Aptitude, attitude and efforts toward studying economics have also been concerned in many researches. Allison (cited in Siegfried and Fels, 1979), Becker (1983a) has found low positive correlation between achievement and student's effort, but Becker and Salemi (1977) didn't find any impact of study time on performance while Siegfried and Fels (1979) confirmed that aptitude is the most important determinant, which is positively related to test performance. In recently, Romer (1993) tested the effect of attendance on student performance. His fmding is the attendance did contribute significantly to the academic performance of students in a large intermediate macro-course. The same to the research result ofDevadoss and Foltz (1996). King 2 (1999) and Schmidt (1983) found that the time spending for studying economics outside the classroom is also important related to student achievement. In the other hand, Park and Merr (1990) proved that effort and intelligence determine the academic performance in money and banking courses while demographic variables did not contribute. Briefly it is said that, researches about economic education have been started since 1960s in the US with factor determination, from simple socio-characteristics (gender, race, parents' education, income, hours of work ... ) or time-distribution to more complicated factors (attitude, efforts, learning and teaching styles .. ) and then the difference of culture, race, gender on learning style, effects on performance and expansions applied to other countries as well as using modern teaching methods like computer-assisted, class game, web-based, etc. All students at UEH must study microeconomics, and then, macroeconomics in the general period. The structure of the macroeconomics examination consists of 2 parts, writing and multiple-choice while structure of microeconomics test has multiple-choice questions alone. In fact, there is difference in what the two types of exams measure. "Multiple-choice questions may encourage memorization of information, rather than the understanding of concepts, are more likely to be misconstrued by students, and leave more to chance in the form of guessing" (Kreig and Uyar, p.230, 2001). Yates (1978, cited in Becker 1983a) argued that many educational objectives can not be only measured by multiple-choice tests. So, in order to have a better assessment, macroeconomics would be the reasonable decision for this research to find out the answers related to the wonder above at the UEH. 1.2 Research Objectives The main objectives are: - To fmd out which determinants that influence students' performance in studying macroeconomics. 3 To determine the relationship between determinants and UEH student's performance in studying macroeconomics. - To suggest policy recommendations for lecturers, students and educational managers at UEH. 1. 3 Research questions Finding out determinants and theirs relationships to outcome of studying macroeconomics in order to answer the following questions Question 1: Does aptitude of an UEH student have an effect on the performance of studying macroeconomics? Question 2: Does attitude toward economics have an effect on the achievement of studying macroeconomics? Question 3: Does efforts in studying economics have an effect on the achievement of studying macroeconomics? 1. 4. Research methodology Firstly, a descriptive analysis focus on the relationships between personal characteristics such as gender, location to their achievement in economics was made to obtain a general view about UEH students. Secondly, a qualitative study was deployed to explore potential factors which may effects on studying macroeconomics. Finally, an Exploratory Factor Analysis was used to test reliability and validity along with simultaneous regression and TSLS method to measure the relationships between outcome of studying macroeconomics and determinants identified. The Microsoft Excel and SPSS software are main useful tools to process the data for the precise factor analysis as well as regression. 1. 5 Delimitation This research based on information from students at UEH after they study microeconomics and before macroeconomics. Some information are archived at 4 the office of undergraduate training, others are self-evaluations from a paper of questionnaire. 1. 6 Thesis structure: This thesis has 5 chapters, starting with an introduction about Problem statement, Research objectives, Research questions, Research methodology, and its delimitation. The second chapter presents the literature review on theory and conceptual framework, empirical studies that serve as the background for hypothesis development. The third chapter is about the methodology consisting of research design, concept measurement and data collection. The chapter 4 reports the result of data analysis before the chapter 5 which summarizes all about the research results and its recommendations. 5 Chapter 2: Literature review This chapter is presented by 3 parts. The ftrst one is a discussion about concepts related to the research. Secondly, some theories related to economic education that would be useful to formulate a conceptual model for our study would be reviewed. Finally, a glance at some empirical studies which have been researched will help us to identify the most significant variables that we can use to ftnd out the relationship between these determinants and performance of studying macroeconomics at UEH. 2.1 Definitions First of all, there should be a clear understanding about macroeconomics and then, performance of a student on macroeconomics. Macroeconomics Macroeconomics is a branch of economics. It provides students basic concepts and analytical methods about performance, structure, and behavior of the economy of a nation, a region or the global economy. Along with microeconomics, macroeconomics is one the most important and compulsive subjects at any university which is major in economics and business administration education. Performance ofstudying macroeconomics Performance of studying macroeconomics shows us how students learn and acquire the knowledge from studying it, how they understand and identify as well as analyze macroeconomics problems. It is usually measured by an examination score, in combination with some extra testing activities. 2.2 Theoretical backgrounds Most of researchers on economic education based on the assumption that the major objective of economic education is very narrowly defmed concept of learning, related in the way student performance measured by achievement or course grade 6 (Yates 1978 in Siegfried and Fels 1979), as an indicator of how much information that a student has after the course. Researchers have attempted to model student learning by incorporating a set of variables measuring the relationships between student achievement and age, gender, teaching mode, textbook, instructor, class size, computers, time and effort, prior economic knowledge, aptitude, entry score, attitude toward economics (Cowie et al. 1997, Siegfried and Fels 1979, Becker 1983a, Manahan 1983, Davisson and Bonello 1976, Simmons and Alexander 1978). These models have typically taken the form of production function where the output is the performance of learning, which is measured by achievement or course grades. According to summary of Bowles ( 1970), an educational production functions used to seek the affected educational output by altering school inputs in the common form as followed: A;= fo + fiXn + JiX2; + ... + /:Xz; + u; [2.1] Where A;: the achievement score (or other output measure for the i'h student); fo, ... ,fz: the parameters of the production function to be estimated; }[_j;: the amount of input} devoted to observation i 's education,}= 1... z ui: the disturbance term. This model was used frequently for a long time with research in economic education. One of the common things that could be easily recognized from production function is the personal characteristics and aptitude usually appears in every research about this field. Not always, but mostly these variables are significant. The few studies that have included measures of student's socioeconomics backgrounds have found such variables as family income and/or parent's education to be unimportant (Siegfried and Fels, 1979). Another example, Simmons and Alexander (1978) used a model about Educational Production Function as Ait = g[F;(tJ' S;(tJ, P;(tJ' l;(t)] 7 [2.2] Among that, F stands for family background characteristics, S for school inputs, P for peer group characteristics and I for initial endowments (or innate abilities). Another research example is from Ziegert (2000) using a model to estimate the effect of personality temperament on learning in economics like this: Output =/(Student abilities, student demographic, personal temperament) [2. 3J Gender, age, race, and family background have also been used in learning studies (Manahan 1983, Navarro and Shoemaker 2000, Bonello, Swartz and Davisson 1984, Anderson, Benjamin and Fuss 1994, Betts and Morell 1999). But "measures of student maturity, such as age, year in school, and number of previous college credit hour, usually show no relationship to cognitive performance" (Siegfried and Fels, p.938, 1979) while Simmons and Alexander (1978) came to a conclusion that home background or parental socioeconomic status; strongly influences student performance. Betts and Morell (1999) also come to the same conclusion with confirmation about the strong affects on GPA at a university by personal background; include student's family background (income and race), gender as well as demographic environment. However, this general test is not likely to conform to the purpose and content of a particular economics course, which is only concerned with a few topics (Siegfried and Fels, p.926, 1979). They made a comment that, due to lack of theory of learning, some problems of the production function above needs to be concerned. "There has been little concern with such issues as simultaneity (if student interest is an output, does it not feed back into cognitive understanding?), functional form (are there interactions among the independent variable) and the statistical techniques employed". Becker (1983b) also affirmed with this comment. Becker (1983b) proposed a framework to build general equilibrium model in which it shows demand of student when studying economics. According to Becker's model, students have to allocate their time and resources between economics and other subjects in the same semester as well as opportunity for a 8 part-time job or recreation to maximize their utility. Anyway, Becker thought that it is not easy to formalize a model of full educational process because of the market imperfections that arise once a student has decided to attend a given institution. Student doesn't demand economic education by themselves but follow a bundle of education goods provided by their institution. Davisson and Bonello (1976) proposed taxonomy for orgamzmg empirical research. They specify three categories of explanatory variables and the model of learning is human capital (e.g. Math, ACT score, grade point average), utilization rate (e.g. attendance, study time), and technology (e.g. lectures, computer usage). Student Learning= f(human capital, utilization rates, technology) [2.4] Follow model [2.4], Davisson and Bonello (1976) argued that when participating in a specific subject, personal characteristics of each student will interact with the teaching method from teacher along with time they spending for the subject. The final target of a student is to maximize utilization which means a best educational achievement. Durr (1999) proposed the model Grade =/(Motivation, Ability, Gender, Effort) [2. 5] - - - -- - - - - - - . · However, Bowles (f970) discussed that theieast squares-technique yields unbiased estimates of the regression coefficients only if the independent variables are exogenous. When some school inputs can perhaps be regarded as exogenous to the system, there are still some endogenous inputs, for example, student attitudes. Bowles (p.18, 1970) argued that "student attitudes toward self and toward learning are a consequence of past and present achievement (as well as other influences) and are important determinants of achievement". The production function above could be rewritten as A= f(X;, ... ,Xs, attitudes) [2.5] And Attitudes= g(Xp ... ,XZJ achievement- past and present) [2.6] 9 Based on theory of information, with the same purpose when paying attention to two-way causation between attitude and performance, Hodgin (1984) also suggested using TSLS method to test it by a model with the bidirectional causality between attitude and economics learning. He argued that, during studying economics course, two things are simultaneously and interactively occurring: attitudes are being modified due to information concerning economics and relative performance, and vice-versus, performance is altered by attitude toward economics. As student collects information about nature of economics, and his or her ability to comprehend the course, attitude and grade expectation seemed to be modified. And once new information is received, student will make a prediction about chance of success or failure in the course. It means grade expectation and attitude toward economics may be changed 2.2.1 Student learning Studying and examination are two of important issues of education. To study is to acquire the knowledge, information about a typical subject then to apply into daily activities. Examination is a way of checking how much information a student has effected to collect and comprehend. In economic education researches, some typical measurements to measure student learning are Test of Economics Understanding (TEU), Test of Economics Comprehensions (TEC) or the most widely used instrument is Test of Understanding in College Economics (TUCE). , . TUCE is a multiple-choice test developed in 1968, which tests both micro and macroeconomics. It is said that, TUCE is an effective discrimination of students with high and low levels of ability and a good measure of prior ability and analytical skills (Buckles and Welsh 1972 in Siegfried and Fels 1979). TUCE could be used to measure the absolute achievement, absolute improvement, and percentage improvement in studying economics with pre- and post-score ofTUCE. Recent studies have relied on using student course grades (Navarro and Shoemaker 1999, Navarro and Shoemaker 2000). Course grades or tests can be used as indicators of how much information that a student has after the course, but it 10 cannot be used if the structure of the tests are as different as chalk and cheese between classes, lecturers with various teaching styles ... In order to have unbiased evaluation about economics performance, all observations must have similar characteristics, studying in almost the same class size or have the same homogenous class organization, studying with a common teaching style which has been totally agreed among lecturers or approved by scientific and training council and they have to answer the same questions at the final examination. Course grade is not only a final score of examination but the score of progression student achieved during studying principles of economics by doing mid-term test, assignments or homework. Final examination usually consists of constructed response or multiple-choice questions. Each type of exam measure has its advantages along with disadvantages and students would have their own learning and consolidation style in order to respond to it. Multiple-choice pay much attention to memorization of information rather than the understanding of concepts (Kreig and Uyar, 200 I) and it can not measure some educational objectives (Yates 1978, cited in Becker 1983a). A combination of constructed response and multiple-choice questions could almost meet the requirement of economics education. 2.2.2 Aptitude Human capital or student abilities variables are a measure of a student's aptitude for learning. Another way to approach this is using previous GPA or SAT. Most studies used SAT/ACT scores and GPA to measure student's ability and fmd a positive and significant relationship between such variables and student learning. An earlier work shows strongly significant positive links between high school GPA and test score and success of undergraduates (Morell, 1999). Prince, Kipps, Wilhem and Wetzel (1981) found that pre-score of TUCE is an appropriate measure of economic knowledge or as a proxy for student aptitude. Siegfried and Fels (1979) reviewed in some studies and find that mathematics scores could be an instrument to present aptitude and to seems to be positive and significantly 11
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