The Nation's Economic

Report Card

We all want to know what our students have learned about economics before they come to us to take their first-ever college economics class. Well it turns out that now we have this information in the form of a "national economics report card". First administered in 2006, the NAEP economics assessment measures twelfth-graders’ understanding of a wide range of topics in three main content areas: market economy, national economy, and international economy. This report provides results of the economics assessment in 2012 based on a nationally representative sample of nearly 11,000 twelfth-graders. Results from 2012 are compared with those from 2006 to investigate whether our nation’s high school seniors are becoming increasingly literate in economics.

The 2012 economics test reveals our nation's youth has made progress in economic literacy but it appears that it is concentrated at the basic level of knowledge. While that is some encouraging news there are still glaring gaps between what our students should have learned and what they actually mastered. See the table below which is taken from the Executive summary of the NAEP economics. To learn more about how 12-grade students performed on a whole host of areas you can access the full report and the question set by clicking on the link below.
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The report also appears to contradict some of our intuitions about the potential academic success of our students based on the level of parental education. Take a look at the above table concerning the gains made by hispanics even though this group reported the lowest levels of educational attainment by their parents. There are other findings that could potentially help shape our curriculum or at least modify which concepts we choose to place more emphasis on in the classroom. I hope you find it useful. If you have comments or feedback please feel free to leave it in the space provided below.


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Best Regards,


Richard Gosselin

Economics Program Coordinator

Houston Community College


Board Member - National Economics Teaching Association

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