Assessment of students

Credible assessment methods are important, though there are many good options. Assessment of ECON 156 is by regular homework, two exams (midterm and final) and a written essay. The final grade is weighted as follows: Homework (15%), Essay (20%), Midterm (25%), Final (40%).

Here is a set of exercises prepared by Caitlin Brown and Martin Ravallion, for teachers and students:  Review Questions for EOP. These questions have been pilot tested on ECON 156 students either in homework or exams.  (A book of answers is in preparation.)

The essay topic used in ECON 156 is as follows:

Describe a person or group of people who you consider to be poor. You can may focus on one or more people you know or have interviewed, or you have learnt about from reading or visual media. If it is a group of people then it should be well-defined, such as a poor minority group in a specific country or region. After introducing the person/group your essay is about, you should address the following issues:

  1. Explain why you think this person or group is poor. Under what measures of poverty are they to be considered poor? And relative to whom? 
  1. Explain how the person or group became poor, or stayed poor, to the best of your knowledge. Consider any relevant factors and explain why they matter.
  1. Suggest how the person or group might be able to escape poverty. What are some direct interventions that might be suggested? What interventions (if any) have been used to help them in the past? Did they help or not? Why?

Your grade for the essay will be based upon how well you utilize the ideas covered in the course, along with the originality, clearness of expression and coherence of the arguments made in your essay. You must also use correct citations and include a bibliography (not part of the word count).  2,000 words max. 

Examples of the essay topics from students in ECON 156 are “Migrant Workers in Qatar,” “North Korean Defectors in South Korea,” “Maasai Poverty: Its Causes and Solutions,” “The Impoverished Families of Black Single Mothers and Their Young Children in Washington, DC,” “The Poverty of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, China,” “Poverty and Inequality in America’s Richest City,” “The Curse of Inter-generational Poverty: The Case of Phung Cong,” “Syrian Refugees,” “DC’s Modern Homeless Population,” “Rocinha: Poverty in Rio’s largest slum,” “Poverty among Roma people in Romania,” and “Poverty in The Hunger Games.”


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