Compulsory tutorial programmes and performance in undergraduate microeconomics: A regression discontinuity design

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP27/2013
 
Publication date: 2013
 
Author(s):
[protected email address] (School of Economic and Business Sciences, University of Witwatersrand)
[protected email address] (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)
 
Abstract:

As South African universities experience extremely low graduation rates, academic staff implement a range of interventions, such as tutorial programmes, in order to improve student performance. However, relatively little is known about the impact of such tutorial programmes on students’ performance. Using data from an introductory microeconomics course, this paper investigates the impact of a compulsory tutorial programme on students’ performance in their final examination. Due to the fact that the tutorial programme was only compulsory for students that obtained less than a pass in the first test, while otherwise offered on a voluntary basis, this paper employs a fuzzy regression discontinuity (RD) design to investigate the impact of the tutorial programme on final exam performance. Findings indicate that assignment to the compulsory programme positively affects students’ performance. However, this result is mainly drive by students who already seem to have the ability to perform but, for whatever reason, underperformed in the first test. Thus, while assignment to the tutorial programme itself leads to an improvement in performance, the mechanism is unclear.

 
JEL Classification:

A2, A20, A22

Keywords:

peer tutoring, compulsory tutorial programme, introductory microeconomics, regression discontinuity design, South Africa

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1 March 2021
Even with the release of data showing a record high unemployment rate in 2020Q4, it turned out to be a fairly good week for the SA economy. Daily new COVID-19 infections remained well contained, while the second batch of 80 000 J&J vaccines arrived (albeit controversially with the grounded SAA being the carrier). In addition, relative to the October...

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