Nelson, Robert H.||Miller, Elwyn R. (Professor of education)
M.S. Ed. (Master of Education)
Department of Secondary Education
Economics--Study and teaching; Saint Charles (Ill.)--Public schools
This study considered four major problem areas: (1) the degree of economic literacy acquired by a select group of St, Charles. Illinois, students in grades nine, eleven, and twelve who have been given no formal economics instruction; (2) the degree of economic literacy acquired by a select group of students in grade twelve after they have taken a formal semester course designated as economics; (3) the presence or absence of significant difference in the degree of economic literacy between a select group of students in grade twelve who have participated in a formal semester course designated as economics and a select group of students who have not participated in such a course; and (4) a content area analysis of the test performance at the different grade levels mentioned. Four major groups of subjects participated in this study. Group I, the ninth grade students, consisted of five classes totalling 123 students. The five classes represented the upper half of the ninth grade ability grouping scheme as it was arranged for purposes of English instruction. Group II, the eleventh grade students, consisted of three classes totalling 76 students. Group III, the twelfth grade students without formal economics instruction, consisted of five classes and 116 students. And, Group IV, the twelfth grade students with formal economics instruction, consisted of four classes and 82 students. Form 8 of the "Test of Economic Understanding" served as the sole criterion for determining the degree of economic literacy attained by each major group. The Committee on Measurement of Economic Understanding, a group appointed by the Joint Council on Economic Education, is responsible for the development of the evaluation instrument. The test content includes the basic economic concepts outlined in the report of the National Task Force on Economic Education, Economic Education in the Schools. Three assumptions were made concerning the economic understanding of the subjects of this study. The assumptions were that: (1) the two twelfth grade groups would perform as well or better on the evaluation instrument as the average level of achievement established by the national norming groups; (2) there would be considerable difference in the mean scores of the twelfth grade group with formal economics instruction and the twelfth grade group without formal economics instruction; and (3) the ninth and eleventh grade groups would not perform as well on the evaluation instrument as the average level of achievement established by the national norming groups. The test norms were established with twelfth grade students. The following are among the major conclusions of the study. The eleventh grade group performed as well as the average standardization sample performance of students without formal economics instruction even though the norms were established with twelfth grade students. The twelfth grade group without formal economics instruction performed as well as the average standardization sample performance of students without formal economics instruction. At the .05 level of confidence, there was no statistically significant difference in the mean scores of the twelfth grade group with and the twelfth grade group without formal economics instruction. The absence of significant difference may have been attributable to one of a number of causes. Among the causes suggested were the: (1) difference between the two classes in reading comprehension in the social science area; (2) difference in the classroom objectives of instruction and the objectives covered by the evaluation instrument; (3) presence of a student teacher for nine weeks of the semester in the classes with formal economies instruction; (4) inadvertent ability grouping of the two groups through scheduling; (5) possibility that the regular classroom teacher did an inadequate job of teaching in terms of test objectives. Age, intelligence, and formal schooling were found to affect positively the level of economic understanding shown by the students. Also, the relative differences in degrees of performance shown by each group in the four content areas covered by the evaluation instrument did not provide an adequate basis on which to recommend teaching emphases in any particular content area in lieu of other areas. In terms of possible test performance the level of achievement in each content area was low, finally, the results of the testing and a review of the objectives stated in the Task Force Report, Economic Education in the Schools, suggest that a one semester course in economics could be of most value if its emphasis were limited to a selected number of objectives rather than the full gamut covered in the Task Force Report.
Arnold, Frederick M., "A study of the economic understanding of four select groups of St. Charles, Illinois high school students" (1965). Graduate Research Theses & Dissertations. 717.
ix, 74 pages
Northern Illinois University
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