Program Evaluations

September 19, 2022
Board of Trustees

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To the Board of Trustees,

I am pleased to submit my independent evaluation of the educational programs conducted by the Foundation for Teaching Economics from September 1, 2021, to August 31, 2022. Based on feedback from hundreds of students and teachers, this academic year proved to be one of continued adaptation back to in-person student and teacher programming from the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, FTE remained not only nimble and creative in its educational programming, not only by creating new online programs, but also proved able to successfully return a considerable proportion of its educational programming back in person while expanding the number of participants across its student and teacher programs. Such transition and growth in a return to normalcy is particularly impressive, because FTE programs across the board maintained their overall quality of education according to participant feedback. Therefore, I am incredibly pleased to report that FTE has been overwhelmingly successful in its continued mission of teaching the economic way of thinking.

An analysis of empirical surveys, along with written feedback from participants, as well as pre and post testing, continue to demonstrate that FTE programs are essential for helping equip both students and teachers with relevant and powerful pedagogical tools and instruction methods, conducive to excellence in economic education and making teachers more effective economic educators. In summary, both students and teachers across all programs consistently and overwhelmingly praised:

• FTE instructors for their engagement with and responsiveness to participants;

• FTE content for its timeliness and clarity of exposition;

• FTE programs for enhancing their understanding of the economic way of thinking;

The overall result of this impact, both among students and teachers across all programs, is most reflected by the overwhelming enthusiasm that participants expressed in recommending FTE courses and programming to other individuals.

Pre- and post-tests of the high school students attending Economics for Leaders programs revealed positive changes in their understanding of economic concepts. Students increased the pre to post test score by over 10 percent (85% overall score), and evidence showed that some particular FTE programs increased the understanding of economic concepts for students by over 17 percent. Moreover, students attending the Economic Forces in American History programs reported an overall percentage increase in economic literacy by 21 percent. What’s particularly important to note is that, in the previous academic year, the advanced cohort at the University of Michigan only reported a 2.9 percentage increase in its post-test result, whereas an over 11.6 percentage increase was reported in the post-test of the advanced cohort at UCLA. Students praised the instructors for their ability to make challenging content understandable and praised their instruction methods and techniques.

Results from participants’ feedback and comprehension tests clearly show the positive impact of FTE programs on participants’ learning and their ability to bring the economic way of thinking into the classroom. The pandemic did not stop the successful growth and innovation in FTE programs. Students praised the online teaching across many programs which speaks to the clarity, thoughtfulness, and enthusiasm of FTE teachers.

Based on my review of the data, FTE has accomplished what many organizations have been unable to deliver in the face of economic lockdowns and physical distancing requirements. More importantly, FTE has continued to deliver excellence in economic education as it continues to grow its student and teacher programs. Given my own role as an economics educator, I must say that FTE is providing much needed training and exposition on the economic topics and education methodology required in high schools, the impact of which will create economic literacy and responsible decision-making for future leaders.

Best wishes,

Rosolino Candela, Ph.D.

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