At George West High School, we know that financial education is important. Too few students graduate with the knowledge and skills they need to make basic financial decisions for themselves, their families, and their communities. While more than 76,000 high school students and 2,500 educators from across the country participated in the Challenge this spring, scores on the exam were generally low. Challenge participants scored 70 percent on average, demonstrating that students are not yet making the grade when it comes to understanding how to manage money.
The National Financial Capability Challenge – announced in December by Treasury Secretary Geithner and Education Secretary Duncan – is designed to promote financial education among high school students across the country. Educators who registered for the Challenge received a free Educator Toolkit to complement their own lesson plans. Some educators taught the material to students before administering the exam, while others used the exam as a pre-test to establish a baseline of knowledge. Most teachers administering the Challenge were the only teachers in their schools to sign up.
Educators and students who scored in the top 20 percent nationally and those who were among the top scorers in their school received official award certificates. Additionally, the Charles Schwab Foundation will soon name 20 students, chosen from among the Challenge participants, who will receive $1,000 scholarships. Schwab will also donate $1,000 to the school of each scholarship recipient. Students who scored in the top 20 percent nationally and are from one of the ten states with the highest participation rates in the Challenge are eligible for these scholarships. Unfortunately for Ross and Jeremiah, Texas was not among the states with the highest participation.
Texas average score: 67.61% (70% nationally)
Number of participating students in Texas: 4649 (76,892 nationally)
Number of perfect scores in Texas: 20 (524 nationally)
Number of students who scored in the top 20% in Texas: 720 (14,833 nationally)
Number of participating schools in Texas: 82 (1,535 nationally)
Number of other organizations participating (home schools, after-school programs, youth groups, etc.): 39 (639 nationally)
Number of participating educators in Texas: 138 (2,515 nationally)
For more information about the National Financial Capability Challenge, top scorers by state and aggregated exam results, go to www.challenge.treas.gov