Unit: Economics
Program: Economics (BA)
Degree: Bachelor's
Date: Thu Oct 13, 2011 - 2:10:25 pm

1) Below are your program student learning outcomes (SLOs). Please update as needed.

As is published in our undergraduate guide, Majoring in Economics: A Guide to the Economics Undergraduate Program, the objective of our undergraduate program is to provide a high-quality educational experience that enables students to understand the range of economic challenges facing Hawai‘i, the United States, and the Asia-Pacific region. To reach these goals, the Department has set out the following learning outcomes;

·         Economic literacy: Be able to clearly explain core economic terms, concepts and theories.  

·         Critical thinking: Demonstrate the ability to apply economic reasoning to contemporary social issues and policy problems. 

·         Quantitative reasoning: Apply appropriate quantitative and statistical techniques to economic analysis. Conduct economic analysis using equations and graphs.  

·         Reporting: Develop expertise needed to effectively communicate results of economic research and analysis to colleagues and decision-makers through written reports and oral presentations.

 These SLOs were discussed and voted on by the faculty in AY 2005-6. 

2) Your program's SLOs are published as follows. Please update as needed.

Department Website URL:
Student Handbook. URL, if available online: http://www.economics.hawaii.edu/undergrad/UGguide.pdf
Information Sheet, Flyer, or Brochure URL, if available online:
UHM Catalog. Page Number:
Course Syllabi. URL, if available online:

3) Below is the link(s) to your program's curriculum map(s). If we do not have your curriculum map, please upload it as a PDF.

Curriculum Map File(s) from 2011:

4) For your program, the percentage of courses that have course SLOs explicitly stated on the syllabus, a website, or other publicly available document is as follows. Please update as needed.


5) For the period June 1, 2010 to September 30, 2011: State the assessment question(s) and/or assessment goals. Include the SLOs that were targeted, if applicable.

The objective of the assessment is to evaluate if our undergraduate program remain rigorous and aligned with the SLOs listed in question 1.

The department UG program wanted to find out how our students perform in the following areas (from low performance (1) to high performance (3)).  

1.  Understand and apply economic concepts and theories in a clear and effective manner

1)      Does not understand nor apply economic concepts; is confused

2)      Describes economic concepts, but does not clearly understand or apply them

3)      Understands and applies economic concepts and theories in a clear and effective manner

2.      Think critically and solve problems

1)      Does not identify question at hand, and fails to think critically and solve problems

2)      Identifies question at hand, but fails to think critically and solve problems

3)      Identifies question at hand, thinks critically and solves problems in an illuminating way

 3.      Demonstrate quantitative skills

1)      Does not understand or apply quantitative skills to the topic/issue

2)      Uses quantitative skills relevant to the topic/issue but applies them incorrectly or in an incomplete manner

3)      Uses quantitative skills to address the issue/topic at hand

 4.      Communicate your findings both orally and in writing 

1)      Fails to orally communicate findings in a meaningful way and/or fails to communicate findings in writing

2)      Communicates findings orally, but fails to stimulate interest from audience and/or communicates findings in writing in an unclear manner

3)      Clearly communicates findings orally and stimulates interest and discussion from the audience and communicates findings in writing in a clear and stimulating manner 

6) State the type(s) of evidence gathered to answer the assessment question and/or meet the assessment goals that were given in Question #5.

We implemented a course-embedded assessment program. In December 2010, we assessed student performance in one Econ 300 course, three Econ 301 courses, and one Econ 321 course. While grading the final exams for their section, instructors scored at least 50 percent of randomly selected students using the department’s scoring rubric that was developed in 2005-2006.

7) State how many persons submitted evidence that was evaluated. If applicable, please include the sampling technique used.

While grading the final exams for their section, instructors scored at least 50 percent of randomly selected students using the department’s scoring rubric. The total number of students assessed is 102 for the Fall of 2010.

8) Who interpreted or analyzed the evidence that was collected? (Check all that apply.)

Course instructor(s)
Faculty committee
Ad hoc faculty group
Department chairperson
Persons or organization outside the university
Faculty advisor
Advisors (in student support services)
Students (graduate or undergraduate)

9) How did they evaluate, analyze, or interpret the evidence? (Check all that apply.)

Used a rubric or scoring guide
Scored exams/tests/quizzes
Used professional judgment (no rubric or scoring guide used)
Compiled survey results
Used qualitative methods on interview, focus group, open-ended response data
External organization/person analyzed data (e.g., external organization administered and scored the nursing licensing exam)

10) For the assessment question(s) and/or assessment goal(s) stated in Question #5:
Summarize the actual results.

The results of December 2010 assessment show that a lot of instructors reported that our students performed poorly in “Quantitative reasoning” learning outcomes. Out of the 5 courses, instructors in 4 courses reported lowest scores in quantitative reasoning. That is, our students showed weakness in conducting economic analysis using equations and graphs, calculating numbers, and presenting descriptive statistics. This is consistent with the results for 2007-2009.  But it should be noted that there are some variations across courses. In Econ 300 and 321, the evidence is somewhat weaker. This pattern of variation across courses is also consistent with previous years.  Hence, we could say that this year’s assessment is not much different from previous years. This result may not be surprising, because quantitative reasoning may be more important for Econ 301 than other core courses. Other courses might require more rigorous conceptual skills than Econ 301.

11) State how the program used the results or plans to use the results. Please be specific.

In collaboration with Mathematics Department, we developed a new course, Math 161 Pre-calculus and Elements of Calculus for Economics and Social Sciences. The course is particularly beneficial for students in economics and social sciences since the course uses specific examples frequently used in Economics as well as in other fields of Social Sciences. This Fall (2011) is the first semester that this course is offered, and about 55 students registered for the class. The math department thinks that this is a good start, so they plan to offer two sessions in the Spring of 2012 so that each class has about 30 students. We also plan to cross-list the course with us.

Given the huge variation amongst students, we have also offered a course which commands a much stronger quantitative skills, Econ 420, Mathematical Economics, in the Fall of 2010 and 2011. We believe that these two actions will greatly enhance the quantitative reasoning skills for our students and remedy the problems found from our assessment results. We believe that this is an outstanding achievement for our undergraduate program development.

12) Beyond the results, were there additional conclusions or discoveries?
This can include insights about assessment procedures, teaching and learning, program aspects and so on.


13) Other important information.
Please note: If the program did not engage in assessment, please explain. If the program created an assessment plan for next year, please give an overview.