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The future is now: preparing K-12 teachers and students for an entrepreneurial society.


The state of Indiana is experiencing massive structural changes in the manufacturing environment. This same trend has been seen nationwide as high wage manufacturing moves offshore and communities are left to struggle with the impact on their economic base. Indiana, in fact, has indicated that entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education is now one of the top 10 priorities in the state (Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs). As a result, many states are focusing on entrepreneurship education in their K-12 classroom and have now included entrepreneurship in their content standards. But many K-12 teachers are underprepared for this new challenge.

To better prepare Indiana teachers, a new entrepreneurship course was offered in spring 2007. Results show that our KACE Model, which connects teacher knowledge, comfort and applications, does enhance teachers' efficacy in K-12 student understanding of entrepreneurship. Our KACE Model, the structure of the course and its outcomes are described in this paper.


The state of Indiana is experiencing massive structural changes in the manufacturing environment. This same trend has been seen nationwide as high wage manufacturing moves offshore and communities are left to struggle with the impact on their economic base. Indiana, in fact, has indicated that entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education is now one of the top 10 priorities in the state (Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs). As a result, many states are focusing on entrepreneurship education in their K-12 classroom and have now included entrepreneurship in their content standards. But many K-12 teachers are underprepared for this new challenge.

Indiana University Kokomo has an accredited Center for Economic Education that is affiliated with the National Council for Economic Education (NCEE) and the Indiana Council for Economic Education (ICEE). As a result of this partnership, the Center offers economic education courses, workshops, and economic education research. Both nationwide, and in Indiana, Centers for Economic Education have found themselves in the midst of a new push for entrepreneurship education in addition to their mission in economic education. This holds true for our Center at IU Kokomo.

We have developed a successful model, the KACE Model (see Diagram 1 in the Appendix), which enhances the economic efficiency of teachers in K-12 classrooms. This model focuses on the three dimensions of teacher effectiveness: the economic knowledge (K); their comfort in teaching economics to K-12 students (C); and their effectiveness (E) in K-12 classrooms as measured by their applications (A). These three elements, essential for teacher competency and K-12 student learning outcomes, are central to INTASC (Interstate New Teachers Assessment and Support Consortium) Principles which guide teacher education accreditation processes.

This model has lead to successful graduate courses. Our first course was a survey of micro and macroeconomics; the second course was a research course in which teachers with background knowledge in economics were given the assessment tools to design action research studies. The focus of this paper is our newly developed third course for classroom teachers--a course in entrepreneurship. Given the economic situation of many states and the pressure to teach entrepreneurship standards, teachers have to be literate in entrepreneurship concepts, comfortable with the entrepreneurship content and standards, and capable of developing applications in entrepreneurship for their K-12 students.

All of our courses have been team-taught by faculty members in economics and education and are praxis-based. This means that content is presented, followed by applications. These applications are interactive opportunities for teachers to apply their knowledge through content simulations, role-plays, collaborative design of products, and simulations of classroom elements. These applications have resulted in strong teacher testimonials.


Entrepreneurship as a content discipline is a fast growing field. There are a number of entrepreneurship models discussing the characteristics, skills, and knowledge needed for entrepreneurial activities as well as the personal characteristics of the entrepreneur. For example, Powell and Bimmerle (1980) noted the three sets of entrepreneurial attributes; entrepreneurial descriptors including knowledge and skills; precipitating factors such as dissatisfaction with current job or recognition of opportunities; and venture specific factors that would include valuations of the ideas and valuation of the resources. Hornsby, Naffziger, Kuratko, and Montagno (1993) highlight the need for an outside event that launches the entrepreneurial activity. Covin and Slevin (1991) examine sets of variables, including external, strategic and internal. They also examine the entrepreneurial firm from the inside.

These models, however interesting, are primarily from either the firm's perspective or from an outside evaluation of how well the entrepreneurial firm is operating. They do not speak to the development of the entrepreneurial spirit in K-12 students. For teachers to successfully inculcate and develop the entrepreneurial spirit, they need to be trained in entrepreneurship content and given the teaching skills needed to effectively teach that content to their K-12 students.

This need for entrepreneurship education for K-12 students has been recognized by many universities and nonprofits. There are a number of K-12 classroom resources available that offer teachers preset programs, curriculums, worksheets and lesson plans as Brown (2000) noted in her review of K-12 entrepreneurship curriculum materials available. She included The New Youth Entrepreneur; the National Foundation for Teaching of Entrepreneurship (NFTE); the Kaufman Foundation; the Program for Acquiring Competence in Entrepreneurship (PACE); Own the Place; Open for Business, and so on. These curriculum resources, while impressive, are helpful in establishing the baseline for teachers in content and instructional strategies. However, the reality for most teachers is the need to develop curriculums appropriate for their own classrooms. In fact, our goal was to turn teachers into entrepreneurs in their own classrooms. Our KACE model, while successful in economic education, is a generic model and was able to be successfully adapted to this new course and our development of these teacher entrepreneurs. The KACE model is shown in Diagram 1.


This new course contains our traditional elements in that it was intensively taught on campus, had a field application, faculty served as mentors, and teachers formed a cohort of educators to dialogue and enhance their efficiency. The overall entrepreneurship content came out of a textbook that focused on entrepreneurship as a process, rather than focusing on the singular event of founding a firm. As the authors note, "We believe that recently the field has come to view entrepreneurship as an ongoing process rather than as a single event ... We reflect this growing consensus by focusing on the entrepreneurial process as it unfolds through several distinct phases." (Baron & Shane, 2005).

In this new course, some of the entrepreneurship content was delivered online. The online content modules were in the areas of accounting, legal forms of business ownership, human resource management, marketing, intellectual property, financing the new operation, and strategic planning. The entrepreneurship content was front loaded so that teachers had the maximum application development time. The online content was followed several weeks later by on-campus applications.

The course was divided into two major parts. The first part was to develop baseline knowledge in entrepreneurship (including both in-class and on-line sessions) so that the teachers would become literate in entrepreneurship before beginning their curriculum development. We moved quickly through the entire textbook (Baron & Shane, 2005) in the early portion of the semester. This knowledge was tested in an online midterm exam. After the first four weeks of in-class meetings and direct praxis applications, the course shifted to the on-line modules in entrepreneurship. After the entrepreneurship content portion of the semester, the course focused on educational best practices. As these are practicing teachers, they were assumed to have a good working knowledge of best practice scholarship, so this online pedagogical portion required them to apply these practices to their curriculum.


The teachers in this course taught a wide variety of K-12 classrooms, ranging from kindergarten special education to high school economics. This provided an additional level of challenge for the faculty members to make sure the entrepreneurship content modules would be applicable to each and every classroom. One additional challenge was to guide these teachers into taking these generic entrepreneurship and pedagogical modules and refine them into developmentally-appropriate classroom curriculums.



Classroom knowledge was developed through the use of the textbook, guest speakers, in-class simulations, and outside readings. The course learning outcomes included developing knowledge of the personal attributes of entrepreneurs, analyzing scenarios of various entrepreneurship projects and their likelihood of success, and examining the institutional structures that help or hinder entrepreneurial success. As part of the course, teachers linked the content to their specific grade level standards in entrepreneurship. The online modules supplemented these topics so that teachers developed baseline knowledge in entrepreneurship for curriculum development, implementation, and assessment.

The online setting included faculty developed PowerPoint slides that supplemented and complemented the textbook readings. After reading the online entrepreneurship content slides, teachers were asked to answer four prompts for each module. The first content prompt asked the teachers to reflect on the implications of this content for their developing curriculum in entrepreneurship. The second prompt asked them to reflect on the content in terms of any organizational or structural changes that they might make in their classrooms. The third prompt asked the teachers to tie the entrepreneurship content back to different standards, in come cases to language arts, and others to mathematics, or social studies, or sciences. The last prompt asked the teachers to reflect on what three questions this content raised for them in terms of developmental appropriateness and how this applies to their existing curriculum. The teachers' grade levels or content specialization seemed to influence the degree of difficulty that teachers encountered with the material, as discussed in below.

The first content module was Human Resources, including the common theories of motivation. Teachers were able to make very clear connections back into their curriculums and into their classroom management structures. For example, teachers used the theories of motivation to look at how they motivate their students. Structurally, teachers explored the ideas of using students as employees including the ideas of students taking ownership for their own learning and organizing the class via a business model. The questions they reflected on dealt with how to integrate entrepreneurship content into their curriculum, the importance of motivating students via strategies that create student-ownership of the learning experience, and how to structure activities where students were managers and employees.

The second content module dealt with the Legal and Financial issues in a new business. This was the most challenging module for teachers, in that it was the most specific content in terms of business and some teachers did not see the relevance as clearly at first. They commented that content seemed too specific for their classrooms. However, one teacher expressed that he could indirectly incorporate this content into his classroom through the lens of legal and regulatory environments. Using the legal framework in their classrooms struck many teachers as appropriate and as a way to make students more accountable. Another teacher saw this content as an "important piece of growing up, becoming an adult and becoming more responsible." One teacher was able to see the connection between cheating in his school and the need for intellectual property rights. While teachers found this module difficult to incorporate into their classrooms, their reflection lead to the realization that this content was basic to their students being successful adults.

The third content module was on Managing Your Property and Strategic Planning. Teachers quickly focused in on the importance of mission statements for their businesses and for education in general. They could easily relate this back to the skills that students need for the grades ahead and adult life. Some commented that instead of telling students what they will be learning, the teacher would abdicate some authority and let students assume the roles of manager of knowledge. The teachers' grade levels or content specialization seemed to influence the degree of difficulty that teachers encountered with the material.

The fourth content module was on Marketing. Since K-12 students are avid consumers of goods and services and are exposed to many marketing messages each day, this module was one of the easiest for teachers to teach. They had many creative ideas for teaching marketing principles such as advertising and creation of commercials, sales of classroom produced products, and helping students to become wiser consumers in terms of their analysis of marketing materials. There was still some backlash against the content as some teachers could not believe that their third grade students could handle the content, while other third grader teachers could easily see the relevance to their classrooms.

The online pedagogical content modules also supplemented the campus sessions by dealing with the major research findings on teacher efficacy. The fifth module dealt with the key Best Practices Principles of Teaching and Learning. The sixth module dealt with research-based Best Practices in Social Studies. The final module focused on Authentic Assessment, which aims at performance-based outcomes in K-12 student learning. Each of these modules had individual prompts and assignments specific, to the module. For example, in the Best Practice Module, the teacher had to develop a matrix analyzing their curriculum lessons for alignment with these best practices. For the sixth module, teachers had to analyze their lessons in light of the best practices in social studies education. In the final module, teachers had to describe three authentic assessment measures in their emergent curriculum.


For many of these teachers, entrepreneurship content was outside of their comfort zone at the beginning of the course. They may have been attracted to the class by the time slot, tuition stipends, or the need to fulfill a course for licensure. Therefore, it was gratifying to see the incorporation of entrepreneurship content into mathematics, science, language arts, and other areas of the K-12 curriculum as these teachers learned and applied the subject material. Part of the online module requirements was that teachers apply the specific knowledge to their classroom and their lessons. Many teachers commented that this stretching process made them think and grow as an instructor. One noted, "Having taken this class, I will also be able to incorporate more of a business sense in that I have a better grasp of the business world."

One team of third grade teachers showed the greatest changes in their dispositions over the course of the project. These teachers began the class with the attitudes that standards were "stupid" which changed to wishing that the project could continue for a longer period of time. While they found that profits were a stretch academically for their students, these teachers were impressed with the gains that their students had made and are planning on doing the project again next year.


Teachers designed a wide variety of applications appropriate to their grade levels and grade level standards. These included both original and adapted existing lesson plans to infuse entrepreneurship. In addition they assessed entrepreneurship learning throughout their curriculums. Periodic campus meetings, online postings, and final presentation sessions created a learning community among these teachers to enhance their efficacy. One teacher commented, "I believe application is the highest level of learning, and then we as educators can celebrate that our students understand what we have taught." Several examples of the developed curriculums are listed below.

One teacher designed a curriculum for special education students. Prior to this course her instructional methodologies either individualized the instruction or grouped students according to areas of exceptionality, such as emotionally handicapped, autistic, etc. As a result of this course, for the first time her classroom was, "unified around a curriculum project with all the children engaged in a series of entrepreneurship activities around ice cream." She noted that she would no longer underestimate the ability of her students to learn abstract concepts and she commented, "One thing I know for sure is that my students are having a great time learning the concepts. They think they're brilliant because they're able to identify a good and a service without any help." Entrepreneurship gave her a lens to view her classroom in a new way.

A fourth grade teacher designed an entrepreneurship activity with jewelry making as its focus. Some teams concentrated on mass production, while others developed unique styles and products. One group custom designed items by recognizing that some of their customers (a group of kindergarten girls) were asking for specific items. Profits and costs became an important part of the curriculum. This was challenged when students had to decide whether or not they should offer a refund when a customer complained. They decided that long term customer good will was worth the short term loss in profits.

A fifth and six grade team of teachers approached entrepreneurship through science/mathematics and bridge building projects. These students learned that there were absolute minimums required for their final projects due to safety considerations. They also learned the multitude of skills needed to successfully design, purchase, hire the appropriate workers, build, and test their bridge. One teacher noted, "The students will walk away knowing more about the responsibilities of running a corporation and achieving the goals that they have set for their company."

Overall Measures--Survey

A pre and post survey was designed and administered to determine the overall impact of the entrepreneurship course on teachers' knowledge of entrepreneurship, pedagogy (how to teach entrepreneurship) and higher level thinking about classroom applications. This survey identified 26 elements of teacher efficacy. The most important results are show below in Table 2. (See Table 3 for a copy of the complete survey instrument).

The survey was designed prior to the start of class to meet campus human subject review processes, and therefore like many survey instruments, could have been better designed. The difference in means tests showed that several important attributes were significant at the 99% level. These include the importance of the knowledge of economic and entrepreneurship content, the knowledge of instructional strategies for teaching economic/entrepreneurship content, and the applications of the knowledge in the classroom. This was the KACE Model in action. Other items were interesting but not statistically significant. The scores were high on these items to begin with and the course did not significantly increase the scores.


The KACE Model of teacher instruction was found to enhance teachers' efficacy in entrepreneurship. Teachers showed their entrepreneurship knowledge through their exams, and the module postings, as well as their self-reported data on the survey. Their comfort levels were increased as shown by the fact all the teachers involved in this project plan on redoing this curriculum next year. One teacher summed up this consensus, "this was a unique experience; I would do it again and revise it." The quality of their curriculum projects showed that the teachers had learned to apply entrepreneurship content into their K-12 classrooms.

Overall, this was a very successful class. Entrepreneurship is not a subject area that teachers are comfortable teaching due to their lack of experience and training. But the Indiana standards clearly require instruction in entrepreneurship and this leads to teacher anxiety. This class gave teachers the tools that they need to understand the material, develop grade appropriate curriculum and assess their students' learning. One teacher may have put it best, "The curriculum we have written is an in-depth study of entrepreneurship where the students are fully engaged." These are important skills to develop as Indiana continues the move from manufacturing to a more entrepreneurial environment.

We believe this type of pedagogical model of developing teachers' efficacy in teaching entrepreneurship was successful. We will be offering a revised version of this course in spring 2008 using the same format of textbook knowledge, on-line modules, increasing teacher comfort and entrepreneurship activities. A new component of the spring 2008 course will be beta testing of new entrepreneurship content tests for K-2, 3-6, 7-8, and high school grades, in conjunction with ICEE and NCEE. This additional component will enable us to determine the impact of these teacher developed projects on their K-12 students' knowledge, skills and attitudes in entrepreneurship. In doing so, we will be able to assess the entrepreneurial spirit in K-12 students who are the entrepreneurs of the future.


Baron, R.A. & S.A. Scott (2005). Entrepreneurship: A Process Perspective; Cincinnati, OH, Thomson South-Western Publishing.

Brown, C. (2007) Curriculum for Education; A Review. CELCEE Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Clearinghouse on Entrepreneurship Education, Retrieved July 12, 2007 from

Covin, J.G. & D.P. Slevin (1991). A Conceptual Model of Entrepreneurship as Firm Behavior, Entrepreneurship; Theory and Practice, 16 (1), 7-25.

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Hornsby, J.S., D.W., Naffziger, D.F. Kuratko, & R.V. Montagno (1993). An Interactive Model of the Corporate Entrepreneurship Process, Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, 17 (2), 29-37.

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Powell, J.D. & C.F. Bimmerle (1980). A Model of Entrepreneurship: Moving Toward Precision and Complexity, Journal of Small Business Management, 18 (1), 33-36.

Sorgman, M. & K. Parkison (2006). The Transformation of Classroom Teachers from Practitioners to Researchers: Building Research Skills in Classroom Teachers, Teaching Forum. Retrieved on Friday March 26, 2006 from ?module=displaystory&story_id=682&format=html.

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Margo Sorgman, Indiana University Kokomo

Kathy Parkison, Indiana University Kokomo
Table 1: The KACE Model in Entrepreneurship

Knowledge Applications

PowerPoint Center Library Resources from NCEE, and
Presentations ICEE but there are limited entrepreneurship

On-line Praxis-applications following campus content
Exams/Quizzes presentations only

Textbook Readings Textbook Readings supplement on-line content
 modules (6/semester)

Community Guest Applications done on-line with prompts

Content and Off campus-based applications
Modules & Analyses

Curriculum Teachers present their curriculum to their
Presentations that colleagues
demonstrate literacy

Knowledge Comfort

PowerPoint Design of campus classroom climate-
Presentations hands-on interactive activities for 6

On-line Direct and immediate campus
Exams/Quizzes applications of content for 6 sessions

Textbook Readings Seminar format and 8 meetings on

Community Guest Regular update of curriculum
Speakers development progress mainly online

Content and Socialization via email pre/post off
Pedagogical campus sessions
Modules & Analyses

Curriculum Group interactions within a learning
Presentations that community
demonstrate literacy

Table 2: Results of the Pre/Post Survey

 Pre- Post-
Question Average Average

 1 2 4.125 **
 7 3.75 3.63
 9 3.5 3.88
 10 1.88 4 **
 11 2.5 4 **
 12 2.63 4.25 **
 14 2.88 3.88
 17 1.63 3.88 **
 18 3 4
 20 3.75 4.43
 23 2.5 4 **
 24 2 4.14 **
 26 3.13 4

** Difference in means is statistically
significant at the 99% level

Table 3: Please rate yourself on the following
statements (1 low to 5 high)

 Statements Rating

1. Knowledge of economic/entrepreneurship concepts.

2. View the important goal of education as
 development of subject matter knowledge.

3. Importance of understanding economic/
 entrepreneurship concepts.

4. Importance of understanding economic/
 entrepreneurship facts.

5. Importance of understanding economic/
 entrepreneurship theories.

6. Importance of understanding beliefs held by
 people in the field of economics/

7. Knowing what your students' ideas are about

8. Know how to anticipate and interpret what your
 students think about or do in an activity.

9. Have economic/entrepreneurship objectives to
 meet economic mandate.

10. Knowledge of instructional strategies to teach

11. Ability to apply your knowledge about economics/
 entrepreneurship in the classroom.

12. Ability to teach economic/entrepreneurship content.

13. Importance of changing your practice.

14. Ability to develop authentic activities in

15. Use personal resources embedded in curriculum
 materials to teach economics/entrepreneurship.

16. Engage students in the use of data.

17. Have material in economics/entrepreneurship
 that are of high quality content and pedagogy.

18. View yourself as a reflective practitioner.

19. Importance of understanding structures in

20. Importance of opportunity to discuss teaching.

21. Importance of being in a culture where a range
 of teaching practices is available.

22. View teaching as a way to promote your
 own learning.

23. Your ability to think like an economist/

24. Know how the discipline of economics/
 entrepreneurship works.

25. Use rationales for the approaches you take
 in the classroom.

26. Integrate knowledge and theory (Praxis).
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Author:Sorgman, Margo; Parkison, Kathy
Publication:Journal of Entrepreneurship Education
Article Type:Survey
Geographic Code:1U3IN
Date:Jan 1, 2008
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