Monday, August 9, 2010

Problem-based curriculum boosts high school students' knowledge of economics


REL West conducted a randomized control trial in two Western states that examined the effects of a problem based high school curriculum on students’ proficiency in economics. The study, Effects of Problem Based Economics on High School Economics Instruction, was released by the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance. It found a significant positive impact for students of teachers who received receive professional development and support in Problem Based Economics compared with their peers.

• The students whose teachers used the problem based curriculum in their classrooms scored significantly higher on measures of problem-solving skills and their application to real-world economic dilemmas when compared to students who were not exposed to the curriculum in their economics classes. The impact was measured using the Test of Economic Literacy, a widely accepted, standards-aligned test used across the United States to measure economic literacy among high school students.

• The economics teachers who used the problem based approach were significantly more satisfied with the materials and methods than their peers who did not use the curriculum. However, there were not statistically significant differences between the two groups of teachers on measures of economic content knowledge. Also, based on survey findings, no differences were found between the two groups on classroom-teaching practices.

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