A Proficiencies-Based Economics Major —

Its Architecture and Artistry

 

 

W. Lee Hansen

University of Wisconsin-Madison

 

 

 

For Presentation at Midwest Conference on Student Learning

 

University of Akron

  November 4-5, 2004


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Teaching is telling,

Knowledge is facts,

Learning is recall.”

 

—David K. Cohen


 

Figure 1

 

Expected Proficiencies for Economics Majors

 

(1) Access existing knowledge

(2) Display command of existing knowledge

(3) Interpret existing knowledge

(4) Interpret and manipulate economic data

(5) Apply existing knowledge

(6) Create new knowledge

 

 

 

 

 

 


Figure 2

 

Liberal Education

 

 

“Breadth”-- General Education

      

   High School Prerequisites            

   General Education Required Courses

   Distribution of Required Courses         

 

“Depth”-- Disciplinary Major

 

   Advanced Course Prerequisites

   Required Courses in Major

   Distribution of Courses in Major

 

A “Liberally Educated Graduate”

 

   Completion of Course Requirements

   Completion of Major Requirements

   Satisfactory Grade Point Average


Figure 3

 

                        Its Architecture

Goals

  Knowledge for its

     Own Sake

  Liberal Education                                        

  Career Preparation    

  General Education

 

                                   

General Education

 Proficiencies

 

 

Proficiencies in                                            The Major

 

 

Instructor Assessment

  Mastery of Content

  Demonstrate Proficiencies

 

Student Self-Assessment

  Mastery of Content

  Demonstrate Proficiencies

  Student Satisfaction

 

 

 


Figure 4

 

Proficiencies-Course Linkages

 

 

Focus on Proficiencies

by Course Level

 

Hierarchy Of                  Proficiencies             

Courses           1     2     3     4     5     6

 

Introductory x     x     x

 

Intermediate       x     x     x     x  

 

Advanced                     x     x     x     x

 

Capstone                                   x     x


 

 

Figure 5

 

 

 

Building the Structure

 

 

Pedagogy                       

Economics

   Content       

Instructional

   Materials 

 

Student Involvement

  And Responsibility

 

 

Nurturing the

  Proficiencies         

 

 

Learning &

  Practice

 

 

 

Study

Writing

Discussion

Practice


 

Table 6

Assessing the Proficiencies

 

Baseline information (1st weel)

 

Early assessment (4th week)

Student-led assessment

 

End of course assessment (final week)

Mastery of Content Knowledge

Mastery of Proficiencies

 

Student satisfaction with learning [course/professor]

 

 

Post-course Followup ??


Figure 7

 

The Elements of Artistry

 

Purpose &

  Confidence

 

Training &

  Practice

 

Leadership &

  Encouragement


Figure 8

Putting Together the Pieces

 

Learning & Practice

 

Statement of Learning Objectives

Texts, Readings, Guides to Learning

Selection of Learning Opportunities

Alignment of Learning Opportunities in Course Syllabus

Focused and coordinated reading assignments

Progress of lecture topics

Formally structured discussion sections

Writing-thinking: summaries, questions

Writing-applying: application to current issues

Student preparation of practice exam questions

Developing proficiencies via learning opportunities