Improving Teaching Effectiveness in Introductory Economics Courses Using the Test of Understanding of College Economics (TUCE)

Richard H. Courtney, William Lee, Kara Boatman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study extends the literature on using standardized tests to measure student learning in introductory economics courses by illustrating how the results of such tests can be used as a diagnostic and developmental tool by instructors to help them improve their teaching. The extent of student learning in each of the six content categories and three cognitive categories that are incorporated in the Test of Understanding in College Economics (TUCE), are used as a means of providing feedback to instructors that they can use to help them improve their teaching effectiveness. Results obtained in this way can be used in conjunction with student evaluations of courses and instructors.

Differences in the extent of student improvement in each of six content categories offers instructors information about subject areas in which more attention should be focused, or teaching practices altered, in the future. In terms of the three cognitive categories, results indicate that students gained most in terms of their knowledge of fundamental concepts but, as the level of abstract thinking increases, improvement in comprehension and application of economic concepts is much less, indicating that instructors may also want to consider changes in teaching strategies to better communicate information as well as to engage students in these topics as a means of improving their understanding. Overall, results obtained by using the TUCE in this manner can help instructors ascertain those subject and cognitive areas they need to focus on as a means of helping them improve their teaching effectiveness to further increase student learning.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalJournal of Economics and Economic Education Research
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013


  • Business
  • Economics

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