HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENTS, BONUS POINTS AND PASS MARK: STUDENTS' PERCEPTION AND PREFERENCES

M. Nettekoven

WU Vienna University of Economics and Business (AUSTRIA)
Typically, in courses organized as mass lectures with only one final exam, students tend to start learning only at short notice before the exam, and tend to forget relevant topics soon afterwards. As we have shown in previous studies, (voluntary) homework assignments which give bonus points for the final exam have turned out to be a good means to counteract this bulimic learning behavior and to motivate students to keep up with classes.

In this study we analyze the data given by several years of homework assignments, bonus points and exam credits in our course of Introductory Finance to find long-time trends. Furthermore, we evaluate several surveys regarding students’ perceptions of these voluntary homework assignments, and how they regard their influence on their learning behavior.

We also analyzed students’ preferences regarding bonus points and the exam’s pass mark and length, and whether they were willing to trade one feature for another. We asked them to compare pairs of different combinations of bonus points, pass marks and exam lengths, and performed a preference analysis using a log-linear Bradley-Terry Model to quantify their partiality and find common factors influencing their preference order.

Summarizing, our paper gives an overview of several years’ experience with homework assignments, both from teacher’s and student’s points of view.