2013-2014

Indicators of Achievement

The overarching goal of our curriculum is to instill in our students the capacity to “think like economists.” Such thinking involves problem solving (e.g., minimize the cost of achieving a goal), analytical reasoning (e.g., deduce conclusions from a set of assumptions and postulated relationships) and critical thinking (e.g., rigorously examine economic analyses for faulty logic or unrealistic assumptions). These fundamental skills transcend the discipline of economics and are at the core of the capabilities we aspire to cultivate in all Willamette students.

In an effort to facilitate the development of such skills, the Economics Department has identified the following five student learning outcomes emphasized in the department’s curriculum:


The Student Learning Outcomes of the Economics Program include:

  1. The student can interpret statistical evidence to analyze economic phenomena. A successful student will be able to construct and interpret statistical evidence, including estimating economic relationships and hypothesis testing
  2. A successful student will understand the definition and computation of basic economic indicators. In addition, the successful student will understand the limitations of such indicators and possible remedies to these limitations
  3. The student can communicate economic concepts both orally and in writing to a non-technical audience. A successful student will be able to effectively communicate his or her analysis of economic phenomena in an accessible way to the non-major
  4. A successful student will be able to understand the construction of and predicted outcome of a perfectly competitive market. In addition, the successful student will understand the limitations of the market model, as well as the limitations of efficiency as a criterion for evaluating market outcomes
  5. The student can use economic analysis to analyze the predicted impact of policy. The successful student will be able to choose the appropriate theory to analyze the predicted effects of economic policy. In addition, the successful student will be able to draw on related economic concepts in their policy analysis

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