In order to reinforce students’ mindsets we at NFTE are developing an Entrepreneurial Mindset Index or EMI. The EMI is our own survey of students’ non-cognitive abilities as they relate to entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial behavior. We currently survey students before and after they participate in a NFTE course to measure how much and in what ways the NFTE program has an impact our students’ mindsets. The EMI is a living instrument; we are constantly developing the tool to make sure that it accurately and successfully identifies the core aspects of students’ mindsets.
The NFTE EMI currently measures several domains that through our research we understand to be critical components to entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial behavior. These domains include initiative and self-direction, flexibility and adaptability, communication and collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving, future orientation, opportunity recognition and comfort with risk.
The Power of the EMI
The EMI is the backbone of our work at NFTE. Our annual surveys of mindset provide NFTE staff and teachers with critical information to inform teaching and learning in the classroom, professional development and program implementation. As NFTE builds out its digital capacity, the EMI will become an integrated assessment tool that will provide real-time information about users and their experience in entrepreneurship education.
The notion of an EMI comes at the most opportune moment. Today’s youth face growing challenges with an increasingly interconnected global economy that requires them to be opportunity focused, perpetually innovative and unreservedly self-directed. These entrepreneurial characteristics, though critical to young people’s success, are not regularly taught in schools or universities, where the focus is still on traditional academic success.
Outside of school, entrepreneurship and small business continue to be a core component of the success of the global economy. Developing an entrepreneurial citizenry is viewed universally as critical to fostering business creation and developing a stronger, more engaged workforce that is more fiscally responsible.