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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

US releases Economics Education Report Card

The study conducted by the US. Dept. of Education is the first ever National Assessment of Educational Progress - and is a measure of national knowledge of economics by 12th graders in the US. I saw the Fed Reserve Chair from Minneapolis comment on the results...his assessment is rosier than mine. He says the fact that 42% of the sample were 'proficient' in economics is a "good base." I tend to look at the glass being half empty on this - there's a lot of room for improvement.

About 79% of students scored at the "basic" level - having a rudementary knowlege of some econ concepts. I don't think that is too bad, but again, still a lot of room for growth.

One of the more interesting findings is that males tend to only slightly outperform females in econ. I would expect that to be true given the more mathematical/logical nature of the way econ is often taught. But it's surprising to me how close the genders performed. I would have thought the gap to be much higher. I do think it is meaningful that the gap widens at the higher levels of proficiency - and I would expect this is a foreshadow of college results - as more math is applied to econ in advanced levels, males should tend to increasingly dominate.

The basic "scores" are as follows (discussing micro, macro, and international econ topics):
Market Economy
72% described a benefit and a risk of leaving a full-time job to further one’s education
52% identified how commercial banks use money deposited into customers’ checking accounts
46% interpreted a supply and demand graph to determine the effect of establishing a price control
36% used marginal analysis to determine how a business could maximize its profits
National Economy
60% identified factors that lead to an increase in the national debt
36% identified the federal government’s primary source of revenue
33% explained the effect of an increase in real interest rates on consumers’ borrowing
11% analyzed how a change in the unemployment rate affects income, spending, and production
International Economy
63% determined the impact of a decrease in oil production on oil-importing countries
51% determined a result of removing trade barriers between two countries
40% determined why industries can successfully lobby for tariff protection
32% identified how investment in education can impact economic growth

Download the whole report here.

1 comment:

Mike Fladlien said...

hi garth...i was on the team that helped establish the national guidelines...for two days, we argued where to draw the lines...i was left saying to myself that we need to do a better job teaching economics...