Well-Trained Teachers Improve Financial Literacy for Students
High school students show much stronger financial literacy skills when they are taught by properly-trained instructors, according to a new report from Champlain College. Teachers who had completed graduate-level courses on how to teach personal finance to teenagers had students that out-scored consumers in the Millennial generation (ages 18-34) and nearly scored as high as Generation X (35-49).
The study revolves around a pilot program for the college that trains teachers in Vermont on how to educate teenagers about important financial matters, including earning, spending, saving, borrowing, and protecting one’s money in the future. The 45-hour graduate level course is designed specifically for educators. Before the course, 39% of educators were prepared to teach students about personal finance, but a staggering 94% were prepared after completing the course.
Perhaps the most compelling results from the study are found in the change in financial literacy that high school students showed before and after their classes. All students were given a baseline test and then a follow-up exam to see if their financial literacy skills had improved. Students taught by these trained teachers showed a 17% increase in financial literacy skills, while students instructed by untrained teachers actually showed a 2% drop in performance.
High school students were tested on five different topics, and financial protection was the area that students taught by trained teachers showed the most improvement. Those students scored 24% higher after working with their instructors, while students from untrained teachers had a 3% decline in knowledge.