Experimental Study of BIE Project Based Economics Units
Finkelstein, N., Hanson, T., Huang, C.-W., Hirschman, B., and Huang, M. (2010).
A study, conducted by WestEd's Regional Educational Laboratory West (REL West), addresses the following key research questions:
- Does PBE increase student content learning, motivation to learn economics, and problem-solving skills?
- Does PBE increase teacher knowledge in economics and teacher interest in teaching economics?
This federally-funded experimental study examined of the combined impact of a one-week summer professional development institute and the use of the BIE Project Based Economics curriculum on the economic knowledge of approximately 7,000 12th grade students taught by 76 teachers in 66 high schools. Student outcomes that were studied included scores on the standardized Test of Economic Literacy (TEL), scores on performance assessments of student conceptual understanding. Teacher outcomes included confidence in teaching economics and satisfaction with teaching materials.
Both high school students and their teachers benefit
- Students outscored their peers in the control group who received the more typical textbook- and lecture-driven approach.
- Students also scored higher on measures of problem-solving skills and their application to real-world economic challenges
- Teachers scored higher in satisfaction with teaching materials and methods than those in the control group.
Full citation: Finkelstein, N., Hanson, T., Huang, C.-W., Hirschman, B., and Huang, M. (2010). Effects of Problem Based Economics on high school economics instruction. (NCEE 2010-4002). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.