Personne : St-Jean, Étienne
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Assessing the impacts of school entrepreneurial initiatives : a quasi-experiment at the elementary school level
2019-04-23, St-Jean, Étienne, Pepin, Matthias
Purpose : Many countries around the world have now introduced entrepreneurship into their curricula and educational practices, starting at the elementary school level. However, recent studies show the relative (un)effectiveness of K-12 enterprise education on diverse learning outcomes. The purpose of this paper is to report on a research aimed at assessing the impacts of enterprise education on students’ entrepreneurial attitudes. Design/methodology/approach : The authors conducted a quasi-experiment between May and June 2017 to assess the entrepreneurial potential of students at Elementary Cycle 3 (10–12 years) in Quebec, Canada. Relying on attitude theory, the authors used Athayde’s Attitudes toward Enterprise for Young People test, which assesses students’ entrepreneurial potential through four entrepreneurial attitudes (leadership, creativity, achievement and personal control). The experimental group consisted of 11 classes which had conducted an entrepreneurial project during the 2016–2017 school year (n = 208 students), while the 7 classes of the control group had not (n=151 students). Findings : At first glance, data showed no difference between the two groups. Further investigation showed that private and Freinet (public) schools’ students, both from the control group, show significantly higher leadership scores than those of the experimental group. In-depth analyses also show that increasing the number of entrepreneurial projects significantly impacted three of the four attitudes assessed, although negligibly. Research limitations/implications : Taken together, those results question the relevance of single entrepreneurial activities in developing students’ entrepreneurial attitudes. They also suggest the positive impact of a progressive, constructivist pedagogy in developing such entrepreneurial attitudes. Moreover, the paper raises several factors likely to impact students’ entrepreneurial attitudes for further research. Originality/value : K-12 enterprise education remains an understudied context, largely crossed by unproven statements. This research contributes to understand and give direction to educational initiatives targeting the development of young students’ entrepreneurial attitudes.