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Education

Government Recognize High-Scoring Students in the 2010-11 National Financial Capability Challege

Government Recognize High-Scoring Students in the 2010-11 National Financial Capability Challege

Photo: National Financial Challenge

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As part of an ongoing effort to mark national Financial Literacy Month, the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of the Treasury today recognized high-scoring students in the National Financial Capability Challenge for the 2010-11 school year. The Challenge, which includes a voluntary online exam for high school students, helps teach young Americans about saving, budgeting, investing, and other important skills critical to building a secure financial future.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Treasury Deputy Secretary Neal S. Wolin honored top-scoring students today at a public meeting of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, DC. Nationwide, more than 84,000 high school students and 2,500 educators in all 50 states, as well as in U.S. Department of Defense schools for children of military members around the world, participated in the 2010-11 Challenge.

“It’s critical for our young people to develop smart financial skills,” said Secretary Duncan. “If we’re going to prepare our students for 21st century success, we have to teach them about earning and spending, saving and investing. Otherwise, they’re going to learn the hard way: by making mistakes. I’m encouraged to see the steps that teachers and states are taking to make basic financial education a priority and congratulate these students on their great work.”

“Empowering students with the knowledge they need to make good decisions about saving, budgeting, and investing is critical to helping them build secure financial futures,” said Deputy Secretary Wolin. “I want to congratulate these students on their achievements and thank them for serving as examples to their peers about the importance of financial education.”

Students who scored in the top 20 percent nationally and those who were among the top scorers in their school will receive official award certificates. Idaho, Vermont, and South Dakota had the highest average test scores among states on the 2010-11 Challenge, while Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey had the most participating students. State-by-state results and sample questions from the exam are included below and at www.challenge.treas.gov.

In blog entries posted on the websites of the Treasury and Education departments, high-scoring students honored at today’s ceremony in Washington, DC wrote about the importance of the Challenge in helping provide young Americans with a strong foundation in financial education.

Anna Martin, a student from the Ephrata Area School District in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, wrote: “The Financial Challenge was a great way to test how much students know about real life financial situations. Students will have to deal with financial situations similar to those on the test and need to know how to handle them.”

Carlos Riveros-Sabogal, a student from the Applications and Research Laboratory school in Howard County, Maryland, wrote: “I believe the Financial Capability Challenge is important because it allows students to demonstrate their ability to handle money wisely. In today’s economy, it is vital for young people to learn how to handle their finances properly to avoid financial struggle.”

Challenge participants scored 69 percent on average, demonstrating that many students still need to make additional progress in strengthening their financial skills and knowledge. The Obama Administration is taking further steps to help empower Americans through improved financial capability. In November, the Administration unveiled a new coordinated National Strategy for Financial Literacy to help guide the ongoing efforts of the federal government and private organizations to empower Americans with the financial skills they need to strengthen their long-term economic security. Additionally, the Administration established the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability to provide advice on how to maximize the effectiveness of existing private and public sector efforts, and to identify new approaches to increase financial capability.