Applied Economics Teaching Resources

an AAEA Journal

Agricultural and Applied Economics Association

Research Article

Does Exam Formatting Affect Grades in Online Agricultural Marketing Courses?

Juan Pachon(a), Bachir Kassas(a), John Lai(a), Gulcan Onel(a)
(a)University of Florida

JEL Codes: JEL Codes: A20, A22
Keywords: Bloom’s Taxonomy, exam formatting, online learning, student performance

Publish Date: January 14, 2024

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Understanding factors affecting student performance in online exams can help improve the accuracy and equity of performance assessment tools. While there is a significant body of literature dating back to the 1980s on the accurate assessment of performance in traditional in-person exams, the literature evaluating online exams in online classroom settings has been scarce. During the COVID-19 pandemic, online course offerings along with online exams in these courses have surged, leading to a renewed interest in understanding the extent to which formatting of exam questions could affect students’ grades. This study contributes to the literature on student exam performance in online classes by evaluating how scores are affected by two exam formatting treatments: ordering exam questions by chapter number and by question difficulty level. Two exams were administered in an online Agricultural Marketing class in two consecutive semesters. We investigate the treatment effects on average exam scores and exam grade distributions. The results show that neither type of exam formatting treatment has a significant impact on grade outcomes.

About the Author: Juan Pachon is an Undergraduate Student with the Department of Food and Resource Economics at the University of Florida. Bachir Kassas is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Food and Resource Economics at the University of Florida. ( John Lai is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Food and Resource Economics with the University of Florida. Gulcan Onel is an Associate Professor with the Department of Food and Resource Economics at the University of Florida. Acknowledgments: This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of the University of Florida (Study Number: IRB202000232, Status: Exempt).

Copyright is governed under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA


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