By: Laura de Zwaan & Tracey West

People need a basic understanding of financial concepts to make good financial decisions. Our newly released research found most students generally do not know a lot about personal finance. The senior years of high school are a time when students take on more personal responsibility and financial independence. The financial habits they form then may last through adulthood. Low financial literacy is persistently linked to poorer financial outcomes. Here are the proposed six ways to improve financial literacy:

  1. financial literacy education should be elevated in high schools, ideally as a standalone program, but also by injecting principles of financial literacy into as many curriculum areas as possible – particularly in the well-being and pastoral care area
  2. financial literacy education in maths needs to be improved, using a range of approaches – not limited to calculation activities
  3. . financial literacy education should be expanded to subjects other than maths and business, in line with shifting the focus from financial calculations to financial concepts
  4. learning activities should be aligned with the students’ general level of financial experience
  5. students need more exposure to effective financial strategies, in particular how to moderate (or control) spending for saving
  6. a range of assessment methods should be offered to enable students to show what they have learnt. Assessment tasks should go beyond calculations and could include written pieces, visual or dramatic presentations, or oral explanations. These could be presented by groups or individuals.

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