Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Financial Literacy of 15-year-olds in the U.S. and Abroad

U.S. students scored, on average, about the same as their international peers on a financial literacy assessment in 2015, according to a new report released today by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Results for U.S. students were not significantly different from their performance on the same assessment in 2012.

The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) assessed the financial literacy of 15-year-old students in the United States and 14 other education systems around the world. Two U.S. state education systems – Massachusetts and North Carolina – also participated in the assessment.

The PISA assessment of financial literacy measures students’ knowledge and understanding of fundamental elements of the financial world, including financial concepts, products, and risks. PISA is coordinated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and conducted in the United States by NCES.

Among the findings in the new report:

•    In 2015, U.S. students scored 487 (on a scale of 0 to 1,000), which was not statistically different than the OECD average (489). Of the 15 national education systems taking the assessment, students from Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Guangdong (B-S-J-G), China scored highest (566), followed by Belgium (Flemish Community) (541), and the seven participating Canadian provinces (533);

•    The U.S. scored significantly higher than six other education systems that took the assessment; significantly lower than six education systems; and about the same as two other systems;

•    Massachusetts students outperformed their U.S. peers with an average score of 523. The average score of students in North Carolina (496) was not statistically different than the U.S. average; and

•    The average score of U.S. students on the assessment (487) was not significantly different than in 2012 (492). Of the eight national education systems that took the assessment in 2012 and 2015, two (Italy and the Russian Federation) saw significant increases in their average scores, and four (Australia, Poland, Spain, and the Slovak Republic) saw significant decreases.

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