Please turn on JavaScript

Brooks Wilson's Economics Blog: Aplia and Your Grade

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Aplia and Your Grade

I propose the following hypothesis: careful use of Aplia is the best method of improving your grade in class. I must acknowledge a measurement problem before proceeding. I cannot measure hours reading or otherwise studying economics nor the intensity of effort. I can measure grades on exams, points earned on Aplia chapter assignments, basic math skills, and Aplia news analysis assignments.

Using ordinary least squared regression, a simple method of estimating a line of best fit, I measured the influence that points earned in Aplia, basic math skills, and news analysis had on exam scores. The only statistically significant explanatory variable was points earned on Aplia assignments and it was significant at the 1% level. Each question answered correctly improved exam scores by .18 points. The graph visualizes this result. The line is the graph is the line of best fit. Students who answered few Aplia questions correctly earned lower grades on the exam than those who earned many points.

Replace this text with...


  1. I agree that the higher the grades on Aplia would coincide with higher grades on exams. However, as an older student returning to school after being in the world for 25 plus years, I have had to study harder, seek out outside resources in order to understand the subject better. Algebra is not a math skill I excel in or have come in contact with in years. Thank goodness I have a 15 year old who is tutoring. The basic concepts are understandable, the math not so much. But the harder I try to achieve better grades on Aplia, the better I hope to do on exams.

  2. Natasha King19/10/09 3:46 PM

    I do agree that the Aplia scores did help with the exam scores. However, I do feel that without the Aplia set problems I may not have had a complete understanding of all that we were expected to learn for the exam. Without actual lecture time I tend to get somewhat lost. I to have returned to school after some fifteen years and am having a harder time retaining some of the information learned by reading the text. With two young kids in school and a full time job I find myself memorizing the spelling test list instead of GDP. On the other hand, if the exam had been Algebraic problems I may have had a higher exam grade. I feel that I tend to do better on math and graphing aspects of economics.

  3. i also agree that higher aplia grades reflect a higher exam grade but as one who has alot of things on my plate i tend to not study as much as some students and still get lucky enough to earn a decent grade on exams than most students studying the same amount. but i also have the professor in class twice a week for lecture and not just having to read the book.

  4. CJP said...

    I agree that Aplia Assignments do help with higher grades on the exams for some of us. In having alot to do already taking the time to do sometimes so many lessons at once is kind of an inconvenience but knowing in the end its going to help me makes it all okay. Having you lecture in class helps to a certain extent but then applying that to the aplia helps significantlly more. I do believe that if we didnt have to do all these assignments and just have to listen and take notes during class i would be so lost, and fail miserably on test days!

  5. Carrie Cooper4/11/09 10:41 PM

    I think that your hypothesis is true. When a student does Aplia, they gain experience with working through actual economic problems. Aplia helps a student realize what areas need improvement and what areas they should not worry about. I know that Aplia has helped me to follow along in the lectures and to be able to do well when tested.

  6. Kayla Neumann8/11/09 11:49 AM

    I believe that Aplia truly helps others with their exams scores. Not only does it give us a better understanding of what we are supposed to know for the exam , but it also helps us better ourselves with working through economical situations. Aplia helps students follow along better with their teacher. If we were only asked to listen in class, I would be very lost. Having Aplia and being able to read the text aside from listening to the teacher , makes me feel more confident about my exam scores. I am sure others agree.

  7. Aplia what a great way to improve your grade…

    Aplia is a great website that has really advanced the effectiveness of doing your homework. Aplia has a great system and design in place that really helps students see real life economical problems and situations. It also seems that the harder a student tries on the Aplia the more information they seem to retain, which helps them do a lot better on the exams given by the professor. Aplia is a very useful tool and in my eyes is a lot more effective than just your traditional book work problems.

  8. I agree that Aplia really does help to improve a student's grade. People have different ways of learning. For example, I learn better with hands-on online work compared to listening to lectures and taking notes in class. Aplia is a tool that helps me improve my understanding of Economics better.

  9. Erin Wilbanks18/11/09 10:38 AM

    Aplia is a great way to help a student understand what is being taught in the class. You can only read and study the book so much, but having to use those skills in an actual problem is very helpful. I must say I don't like Aplia, but unlike homework, you have to keep working out the problem until you get the right answer, so it is that much more useful!

  10. Nancy Lynch16/3/10 12:37 PM

    I think the Aplia assignments are a great way to help learn. Understanding the reading is only half of it--actually computing it is the other half. I am a returning student as well without a lot of math and/or alegebra skills, so it is more difficult for me. I really feel that taking this class in a classroom setting would have been more beneficial to me. Overall, the class and Aplia is interesting.

  11. Jessica Sawyer2/11/10 10:04 PM

    I think Aplia definitely has an impact on your grades. In class we learn the basic concept of economic changes, but Aplia really helps us understand them by having us apply the concept to a problem. I feel like without Aplia I would fear the exam more than I already do!

  12. OK, call me the old codger but I'm going to take another approach to this. It stands to reason, if you pull the questions from the Aplia web site and Aplia book, then yes you're going to get a better grade. That would be the same as if you gave a test on this blog post, those of us that have read it, would do better than those of us that have not.

    This is a tough class! I enjoy it because I like to be challenged and it's fascinating to me to see how a few policies can influence a world wide economy! I have a feeling by the grades I'm getting on the curve, others aren't having such a good time. Is that because they're not doing the Aplia or not studying or is it because they're taking it online? I think there are a lot of variables that go into what kind of grade you're given.

    So, yes I agree with your post but I think it's very simplified. There are a lot more factors that go into the grades we are given.

  13. Kristen Kelly

    Ideally yes, a student that performs successfully on the Aplia problem sets should also do well on the exams but I feel there are more factors that go into our exam grades. While I feel the Aplia problem sets are helpful I am a little slower at math, thus during an exam I feel rushed and under pressure; two stressors that I do not feel while completing the regular problem sets. taking this class online is challenge for me because my math skills are not perfect and I am a little rusty. I tend to perform good on the problem sets but the exams have not been so good. Thus there are many other factors that go into this hypothesis.