Teachers Give High Marks for PopEd Workshops Results From Our Biennial Evaluation

Written by Pamela Wasserman, SVP for Education, and Lindsey Bailey, Education Network Director | Published: December 13, 2021

Assessing performance is integral to a teacher’s job. Every other year, we ask those educators who have participated in our PopEd workshops to appraise our work. How do they rate the quality of our teaching materials and overall presentation? How have they used the materials since their PopEd training? How many students have they reached, and what do they think their students are gaining from engaging with our PopEd curricula?

While we’ve been gathering this data from teachers for 30+ years, our latest assessment was somewhat different thanks to our altered workshop format since the start of the pandemic. This year, we surveyed participants from 2019 and 2020 workshops. While all of the 2019 events were conducted in person, 88 percent of the 2020 events were virtual. We wanted to know whether educators valued these online presentations as they have the in-person presentations in years past.

Even though teachers and students are back in classrooms this fall, online learning is here to stay, and we want to continue offering workshops in both formats in a compelling way that ultimately makes a difference in students’ understanding about population issues.

One of the best [workshops] I’ve attended in 30 years of teaching!

Between 2019 and 2020, we trained 23,980 K-12 educators through 1,266 workshops in 48 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and four Canadian provinces. Sessions were held for student teachers at colleges and universities and for current teachers at conferences and professional development events run by school districts and the College Board (for AP teachers). Our data is based on anonymous responses to over 1,000 surveys returned in June 2021.

Workshop Experience

Whether participating in person or online, educators rated our workshops highly compared to professional development sessions from other organizations. Nine out of 10 educators considered PopEd workshops “superior” or “above average” in terms of content, usefulness, and presentation quality. Similar scores were given for how well the curriculum integrates into their teaching and for the quality of our virtual delivery methods (Figure 1).

Figure 1

Over half (59 percent) of PopEd workshops take place in teacher preparation courses. Education faculty, who invite PopEd facilitators to present in their classes, indicated being very satisfied with their workshop experiences—97 percent of surveyed professors rated the quality of the presentations as “exemplary” or “above average” (Figure 2), and 96 percent responded “very well” or “good” when asked how the workshops fit their course syllabuses.

Teaching Materials and Classroom Use

PopEd classroom resources reliably receive positive reviews from educators. A full 98 percent of survey respondents rated the materials presented at their workshops as “excellent” or “good” (Figure 3). At the time of the survey, most respondents had either already used the materials with students or had plans to use them.

OUTSTANDING! Your folks provide an excellent demonstration of evidence-based practices, enriched with content and skills that my students will teach in their future classrooms.

Teachers reported using an average of three to four PopEd lessons with their students. Of those who had used the materials, 53 percent teach science, 45 percent teach social studies, and 41 percent teach human geography or environmental science (AP or regular).

Other subjects taught by teachers who use PopEd lessons include math (12 percent), language arts (7 percent), and gifted and talented (5 percent).

I love the interdisciplinary components and real-world application pieces that allow students to ‘see’ what they are learning.

Teaching standards are a significant part of today’s education system, and we work to ensure that PopEd materials align seamlessly with national and state-level frameworks. Our data show that teachers notice—95 percent of respondents indicated that PopEd lessons fit well with their required standards (Figure 4). This alignment allows for easy and frequent integration of PopEd lessons throughout the year to teach a variety of topics and skills. Two-thirds of respondents indicated using PopEd lessons two or more times each year (Figure 5).

AMAZING lessons! You are my FAVORITE! (and my kids’ too!)

Educators who use our materials reported working with an average of 64 students each annually. They confirmed that the PopEd lessons effectively engage their students and promote increased awareness of population issues. Moreover, teachers noted students’ improvements in important skills like critical thinking and problem solving, as well as increased activism (Figure 6).

For more information about PopEd’s teacher workshops, visit populationeducation.org.