Take the National Financial Capability Challenge

In previous posts, I have described the importance of teaching financial literacy in school, the difficulties in teaching financial literacy, and the need for teachers’ training. In this post I would like to inform readers about the National Financial Capability Challenge and encourage students and teachers to participate in the challenge.

The National Financial Capability Challenge is an awards program designed to increase the financial knowledge and capability of high school students across the United States. It challenges high school teachers and other educators to teach the basics of personal finance to their students, and rewards students, educators, schools, and states for their participation and their success.

All high school teachers and other educators working with U.S. high-school aged students (ages 13-19) are encouraged to register for the Challenge, download the Educator Toolkit, prepare their students, and administer the online exam. Educators who have been teaching students about personal finance for years as well as those who never have before are urged to join this national initiative.

Please note that this is a free program and it works as follows:

Registration: Educators are encouraged to go to http://challenge.treas.gov, view the video message from Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and sign up as soon as possible. Registration is open through March 14, 2010.

Educator Toolkit: Once registered, educators will have access to a free Educator Toolkit that includes ready-to-use lesson plans that cover all the core concepts students need to learn to take the Challenge. Educators are encouraged to use whichever modules they like, use other existing resources, or create their own innovative approaches to teaching these concepts in an effort to help students increase their financial capability.

Challenge Exam: The Challenge online exam, which is designed to illustrate the relevance of financial topics to students, as well as to assess their learning, will be offered from March 15 - April 9, 2010. It will take the average student less than 40 minutes to complete, and each student should take the exam only once. Educators can decide which day to administer the exam and are expected to treat it just like an official exam.

Awards Program: The top two scorers at each school, plus all students scoring in the top 20%, will receive National Financial Capability Challenge Award Certificates. All participating educators will receive an official certificate, and educators from schools and states with the highest proportion of participating students will be recognized as well.

Please spread the word about this important program.