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Teaching K-12 Students


Many states have mandated economic and financial literacy curriculum for the K-12 system. The Financial Literacy Public and Private Partnership has convened a task force that includes K-12 teachers, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Washington Department of Financial Institutions, legislators and financial service companies to develop resources for K-12 teachers to integrate financial literacy into their curriculum and map it to math outcomes.


Unlike adult education programs where effectiveness has been demonstrated, recent research has questioned the efficacy of many high school programs in that there was not much difference between high school students who had taken courses and those who had not in financial literacy scores. Additionally those who scored higher on financial literacy score were not more likely to translate this knowledge to behaviors such as savings and credit management.


With adult education, just-in-time education has been effective in that aspiring first-time homeowners are the most motivated to learn about mortgages. However, with high school students, it is difficult to teach concepts such as risk management or investing because they are not engaging in purchasing insurance or managing a portfolio as yet. However, despite this, a seminal study suggests that high school students who are taught financial literacy are more financially successful in their 30s.


Some of the research suggests that financial literacy should be taught much earlier than high school, that children learn best about money from ages eight to twelve. For even younger children, it is important to train the parents. Research has shown that students with good financial skills learned savings habits and thriftiness from their parents.



Money Savvy

Junior Achievement

Consumer Jungle

Investor Protection Trust - Savings and Investing 2020

Stock Market Challenge

Personal Investing

JumpStart Coalition Pre and Post Test JumpStart Coalition Survey




Varcoe, K. Martin, A., Devitto, Z. and Go, C. (2005) Using a Financial Education Curriculum for Teens


Mandell, L. (2006) Does Just-in-Time Instruction Improve Financial Literacy


Johnson, E. and Sherraden, M. (2006) From Financial Literacy to Financial Capability Among Youth, Center for Social Development Working Paper 06-11, George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Washington University


Bernheim, B.D., Garrett, D.M., Maki, D.M. (1997) Education and Saving: The Long-Term Effects of High School Financial Curriculum Mandates


Gandel, S. (2006) Everything you know about kids and money is wrong, Money.


Money Savvy Program Evaluation in Washington State (Elementary program evaluation)


NEFE Program Evaluation (1997) High school curriculum evaluation









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Last updated: 1/12/07