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How does the material compass work?

Criteria for evaluating teaching materials in consumer education

There is an abundance of teaching materials for consumer education on the Internet, the quality of which is not always obvious at first glance and varies widely. The consumer education material compass was developed to provide teachers with an orientation in the material jungle.

The content of teaching materials from the areas of financial literacy, media literacy, nutrition & health, sustainable consumption and consumer rights are described and evaluated here. The materials come from various providers (associations, publishers, companies, administrations and other organizations), whose offers are then linked to.

We select the materials to be assessed according to the following criteria:

a) Timeliness

b) Representation of the broadest possible range of topics

c) Consideration of a wide range of providers

If you yourself know of good teaching material on consumer education topics that has not yet been included in the material compass, we are open and grateful for tips.

The evaluation of the materials expressly relates to an assessment of their usability within consumer education. The question of how well the material at hand could be suitable for conveying another topic is not part of the assessment.

In all subject areas, consumer education focuses on imparting everyday and consumer skills.

You can find more information about our understanding of consumer education under Knowledge of consumer education.

The evaluation grid - by Prof. Dr. Kirsten Schlegel-Matthies (University of Paderborn) developed in 2010 for the material compass - based on the "criteria of the expert group for the evaluation of teaching material of the Swiss Society for Nutrition (SGE)" and on the findings of the project on the "reform of nutrition and consumer education in schools" (REVIS).

The SGE's assessment grid was developed and used by experts from didactics, nutrition and medicine as part of the "education + health network Switzerland". The network is an amalgamation of organizations that provide services for health promotion and prevention in the school context of preschool up to secondary level II.

As part of REVIS, among other things, a frame of reference for consumer education in schools was created which, as a core curriculum, contains specific educational goals and teaching content for acquiring everyday skills.

After a practical phase of almost one and a half years, in which our team of education experts evaluated over 280 materials using this grid, the evaluation matrix was prepared by Prof. Dr. Tim Engartner and Christoph Bauer (University of Frankfurt) evaluated and revised in 2012 according to social science and economic didactic criteria. The technical, didactic and design indicators were sharpened and the calculations for assigning grades were refined.

Evaluated evaluation grid for download:

Evaluated evaluation grid

Since the beginning of 2013, all materials have been assessed using the evaluated version.

The criteria in detail

The technical, methodological-didactic and design quality are assessed within the grid. An evaluation complex contains various indicators, each of which is awarded between 0 and 5 points.

As a general rule, only materials that do not contain any discriminatory statements will be included. Materials that contain (product) advertising or gross technical errors are rated "poor" with the help of a knockout criterion.

In this segment, the relevance, the relevance to the world of life, whether a material presents the content in a controversial, plural and multi-perspective way, whether the learning object is presented as grown and shapeable, shows this in a social context and questions are asked about possibilities for action and shaping. Furthermore, it is assessed whether there is an appropriate presentation of the facts that enables one's own analyzes, whether the material is comparative and impartial or contains advertising and tendentious representations and whether the content structure of the material is coherent and comprehensible, so that a cumulative learning process is possible.

In the methodical and didactic assessment, we value modern, contemporary and age-appropriate communication. The criteria here are the target group orientation, i.e. whether the experiences and interests of the students are taken up and individual learning paths are initiated, the creation of an open learning atmosphere, whether educational and learning goals are formulated and integrated in the material, whether there is an action and competence orientation, whether the chosen methods are varied, appropriate to the subject of study and take into account different social forms, whether the work assignments are varied and differentiated and an accompanying didactic text offers solid support for the teachers.

A good content structure and arrangement as well as appealing and target group-oriented graphic design facilitate the understanding of the subject matter. That is why this aspect is also taken into account in the assessment. Compared to the other two areas, however, this is weighted less overall.