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Spring 2008
ISSN 0890-913X
Volume 23, Number 2

Can Students Learn Economics in U.S. History?

M. Scott Niederjohn, Lakeland College
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TheJournalofPrivateEnterprise23(2),2008,167-176CanStudentsLearnEconomicsinU.S.History?M.ScottNiederjohn*LakelandCollegeMarkC.SchugUniversityofWisconsin-MilwaukeeAbstractEconomiceducatorsaredividedintotwomaincampsregardingeconomicsingradesK-12.Onegroupadvocatesthateconomicsshouldbeinfusedintorelatedsubjects.Thesecondadvocatesthateconomicsshouldbetaughtasastand-alonecourse.ThisstudyfocusedonteachingeconomicsinU.S.history.Itusedapre-andpost-testdesigntomeasurechangesintheeconomicknowledgeof503highschoolstudents.Thescoresofthetreatmentgroupshowedstatisticallysignificantgainswhilethecontrolgroupshowednochange.Thissuggeststhatthedeliberateteachingofeconomicsinnon-economicsclassescanenhancestudents'understandingofeconomics.I.IntroductionFordecades,economiceducatorshavedebatedthebestapproachforincludingeconomicsintheK-12schoolcurriculum.Isitbesttoinfuseeconomicsintootherrelatedsubjects,suchassocialstudiesormathematics?Oristobesttoteacheconomicsasastand-alonecourseatthehighschoollevel,mostoftenatgrades11or12?Thispapershedssomenewlightonthisdebate.ItreportshowthelessonsfromFocus:UnderstandingEconomicsinU.S.Histog,a2006publicationbytheNationalCouncilonEconomicEducation,influencestudentknowledgeofeconomicswhenusedbyteacherstrainedtousetheprogram.Thisstudyusedapre-andpost-testdesigntomeasurethechangesinknowledgeof503highschoolstudents:353inthetreatmentgroupand150inthecontrolgroup.*Apreviousversionofthispaperwaspresentedatthe2007AssociationofPrivateEnterpriseEducationconference.TheauthorswishtothankMarkusSavaglioforhisresearchassistance.167
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