Research and Best Practices in Financial Literacy

Knowledge Pay$ Off Readers, if you are looking for research on best practices to share with parents and administrators, or to use to foster economic and financial education in your classroom, consider these research findings compiled by CFED, a “multi-faceted” enterprise dedicated to “working on the local, state and national level to promote economic opportunity to alleviate poverty”.1  CFED in partnership with CFS, the Center for Financial Security, conducted a 2 year study (2011-2013) with elementary teachers and students in two school districts, one located in Texas, and one in Wisconsin.2  What they found is that elementary students that took part in a more “hands-on approach” to financial literacy tended to exhibit positive attitudes towards saving; even with a minimum of five hours of direct financial literacy instruction.3 This hands-on approach involved partnering with local area banks to establish an in-school banking program coupled with at least five hours of financial education instruction.4  Study findings also indicate that students with in-school banking programs were also more likely to establish a savings account verses students without in-school access.5

Additionally, in Amarillo, Texas, Happy Bank State Bank, in partnership with the Amarillo School System, not only offered in-school based banks for elementary students, but also conducted a study where they randomly selected students to receive $25.00 in seed money to further entice the opening of student savings accounts.6 Study findings indicate that students with seed money incentives were 18% more likely to open an account.7  Additionally, school-wide marketing efforts geared towards fostering parent engagement were also found to support the establishment of savings accounts.8 What is particularly relevant about this study is that a significant percentage of the school population met the “economically disadvantaged” criteria for “free and reduced lunch”.8

CFED also routinely reviews other financial literacy research to compile “empirical evidence” to foster best practices in financial literacy education. Their latest review reiterated that children are more likely to exhibit positive financial behaviors later in life if they have received financial literacy instruction and participated in school bank savings programs.9

Additionally, children from low to moderate income families that had savings accounts established at a young age for college were also more likely to plan, save, and enroll in college; especially those kids in a matched savings program.10This information suggests that partnering with local banks and credit institutions to complement economic and financial curricula may enhance student knowledge retention and their long-term financial well-being.

Works Cited:


2 Ibid.

3 Ibid.

4 Ibid.

5 Ibid.

6 Ibid.

7 Ibid.

8 Ibid.

10 Ibid.

MCEE, Research Findings and Best Practices in Economic and Financial Education

Knowledge Pay$ Off Readers, to support best practices in economic and financial education, the Maryland Council on Economic Education provides a number of professional development trainings, teaching resources, curriculum assistance, and events that adhere to Maryland/National teaching standards and incorporate teaching methods/ strategies encouraged by research. By providing varied professional development opportunities over the course of a year, teachers have the chance to model best practices in education. That is, by attaining on average 49 hours of sustained training/professional development instruction during the course of a year.1 According to Kwang Suk Yoon, et al. from the American Institutes for Research, “sustained learning” from “30 to 100 hours…over six months to one year have been shown to increase student achievement”.2 Also to more likely realize student test score achievement, 49 hours of training is recommended.3 MCEE recognizes that this places a tremendous burden on teachers often constrained by time, school district priorities and professional development costs. Our veteran staff of educators with considerable classroom experience and advanced academic training and experience stand ready to assist teachers in providing programs designed to meet their curricular demands and busy schedules.

MCEE offers intensive two and three day “Institutes” with hybrid programming that often include an online instruction component, one day workshops and various content focused events such as An Evening at the Fed and the Financial Literacy Institute. All events feature training in either economic or financial literacy education, resource sharing, and pedagogical modeling. Two to three day institutes encourage teachers to pre and post-test students to gauge the efficacy of financial literacy training. In addition, Financial Literacy Institutes require teacher pre and post testing to assess changes, if any, in personal finance behavior. Please note that post testing is administered on average three months after the course has concluded. Teacher training also emphasizes the “five key elements” necessary to foster best practices in education.4 That is, “collaborative learning”, connections to “curricula and assessment”, “active learning”, enhanced “content instruction” and “sustained training” from at least 30 to 100 hours over six months to a year”.5 Teacher Institutes are typically MSDE approved for teacher certification credit, and offered during the academic year, and in the summer.

MCEE also supports the learning community by sharing best practices and content through social media and through individual learning communities such as MATE, the Maryland Association for Teachers of Economics (MATE). As members of MATE, teachers receive first notice of upcoming events and opportunities to receive new teaching resources.   As a new organization, we anticipate that MATE will become a vibrant learning community designed to share teaching best practices through peer to peer resource sharing and instruction.

MCEE also works with our national and state partners to offer extended professional development and or student-focused programming designed to reinforce economic and financial literacy instruction. For example, one way in which we partner with other teaching organizations is through the connection with our national partner, the Council on Economic Education. This year, we have worked with our state funders to raise the cost for over 30 teachers to attend the Council on Economic Education’s Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas. At present, we will have the largest state contingent; a great chance to enhance economic and financial education content instruction. In addition, the Maryland Council is the state program organizer for the Stock Market Game, Econ Challenge, and Personal Finance Challenge, all opportunities for students to apply their economic and financial education skills.

We hope that you will check out some of the research highlighted and consider making a commitment today to enhance your financial and economic education content instruction by enrolling and attending MCEE programs. Given state mandated financial literacy curricula, the infusion of economics in the Social Studies curricula along with the re-institution of the HSA Government test, MCEE offers a competitive advantage; free content instruction, content experts and pedagogical training that models best practices in economic and financial education.


2 Ibid.

3 Ibid.


5 Ibid.


Economic Education, Financial Literacy and Recent Research

Knowledge Pay$ Off Readers, as you may know, the value of K-12 student’s economic and financial education knowledge has become increasingly more important given the growing complexity of our financial decisions. Whether it’s determining to go to college, or to pursue vocational training, to buying a car, or a house to planning for retirement, research supports that economic and financial literacy best positions individuals and households in making informed financial decisions.

In Maryland, we acknowledge this fact, as evidenced by the State Standards on Financial Education and Economics standards infused in Social Studies curricula and the Common Core College and Career Ready standards. And, we are fortunate in Maryland that with the appointment of our State Superintendent, Dr. Lowery, to the President’s Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans, Maryland’s school systems are uniquely positioned to gain the latest information on financial education best practices and research. It is important to note that the Council on Economic Education (CEE), an organization that’s been around for 60 years, and the Maryland Council’s (MCEE) national affiliate, “served in an advisory capacity to the President’s Council and contributed curricula and advice on the initiative, including content from the Financial Fitness for Life program” (Council on Economic Education, 2012).

What the President’s Council and the latest research reinforced, and what CEE had already put into practice, is that it’s never too early to begin teaching kids the skills they need to evaluate and assess their financial decisions. In fact, after a research review, the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability found that it’s important to expose and reinforce financial skills early in life to foster good financial habits (PACFC “Final Report”, 2013). To support this approach, the Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans came up with Money as You Grow, a set of teaching resources.  This tool, identifies age bands, milestones, content and strategies, to help parents, schools, and interested parties, prioritize and navigate the information necessary to help kids gain the content and skills they need to make informed choices. What is particularly useful is the poster that documents the content appropriate for each age band. (

The President’s Advisory Council also acknowledged that financial education is a life-long process. As such, parents, schools, employers, non-profits and government policy-makers must partner together to ensure “adequate access to education and enlightened regulation and consumer protection” (PACFC “Final Report”, 2013). The President’s Council also advocated for continued research in “the development of what works strategies” to enhance the likelihood that students will retain the information and skills necessary to process their financial decisions; develop what we at the Maryland Council like to call, an economic way of thinking (PACFC “Final Report”, 2013).

The Maryland Council on Economic Education is also uniquely positioned, based on 60 years of experience, to deliver and share financial and economic education resources, materials, and training based on “what works” strategies developed by education professionals and on researched best practices. The Maryland Council, also has a full set of elementary lessons tied to literature, perfect for the Common Core, and devised around Maryland Standards (Maryland Council on Economic Education, 2014). In addition, our national affiliate, CEE, crafted a comprehensive set of lessons called Financial Fitness for Life that covers grades 3 through 12 (CEE, 2014). CEE and MCEE, also have a plethora of K-12 teaching resources to support American History, World History, Government, Social Studies, Math, and Business Education.

Over the next few postings, MCEE will offer brief overviews and links to recent research on what it takes to promote life-long skills/behaviors to better position students with the skills they need to help foster informed decision-making.  We hope you will continue to stay tuned for links and brief overviews of the recent research findings and suggestions on “what works” in economic and financial education.


Maryland Teachers and Innovative Teaching Strategies

What do Maryland educators Lisa Bender, Flo Falatko, Mary Neely and Lynda Motiram all have in common? These Maryland teachers have been identified by the national organization, Council on Economic Education (CEE) as teachers that use innovative strategies to deliver economic and financial education.  What’s even better is that they all agreed to share their methods with educators throughout the country via video links on CEE’s blog page.

Of special note is that these educators teach different grade levels. So, literally, there is something for almost everyone.  Lynda Motiram from Old Mill High School uses graph relay races, an interactive graphing activity, to apply concepts and engage students. While Flo Falatko from Cromwell Elementary has her students play the Stock Market Game TM and Edmodo to simulate and track stock market trading. Mary Neely from Orchard Grove Elementary encourages her students to create songs that demonstrate specific economic concepts. And, Lisa Bender, from Southern Garrett County High School promotes technology and economics through online content instruction.  And, all of Lisa’s students are equipped with classroom computer tablets thanks to a Discover grant she wrote to keep pace with the new teaching and learning tools of the 21st century.  Let’s give a shout out to our Maryland teachers that use and share innovative strategies to teach and apply economic and financial education!

To view the Innovative Teaching Blog on CEE’s site that features some of our Maryland educators, check out this link


An Evening at the Fed

Educators, you are cordially invited to attend An Evening at the Fed, a free lecture series and resource sharing event on October 16th, 2014, from 5:00 -7:30 p.m. held at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Baltimore Branch and co-sponsored by the Maryland Council on Economic Education. Program attendees will be treated to heavy appetizers, beverages and discounted parking coupons.

This year’s program features a content expert that will identify the “Differences between Fiscal and Monetary Policy”.  Attending teachers also will be offered lesson demonstrations on fiscal and monetary policy and access to free materials. It is important to note that the program’s content contains concepts addressed in the Maryland High School Government Assessment. Economics, A.P. Macroeconomics, and Public Policy educators may also find the program highly relevant to teaching coursework. But as always, any K-12 Educator, is welcome to come! Knowledge enhancement is always highly encouraged as is the opportunity to network with other Maryland teachers.

Feel free to share this with your colleagues!  In other words, bring a friend and let’s pack the house!

To register, or for more information, follow this link:

National Institute in Teaching A.P. Economics

Hello Knowledge Pay$ Off Readers, Interested in teaching Economics or A.P. Economics? Currently teaching Economics or A.P. Economics? Looking for an opportunity to enhance economics content instruction? On November 1st and 2nd, 2014, the Maryland Council on Economic Education will host a National Institute in Teaching A.P. Economics at the North Baltimore Plaza Hotel in Timonium, Maryland. Experienced A.P. Readers from Minnesota, Virginia and across Maryland will share their teaching strategies, lesson plans and testing best practices. Special guest, Gary Stone, the author of the latest CEE AP Microeconomics Guide and long-time reader will share testing best practices and his approach to Micro content. The two-day institute will be held on Saturday, November 1st from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., and on Sunday, November 2nd from 8:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.; minimizing the time out of the classroom and a great opportunity to hone your A.P. teaching skills! Attending teachers will receive free resources and lesson plans.

Why attend this conference? This year features the biggest test revision in 25 years! Also important to note is that there now are TWO different test dates. AP Macroeconomics testing is scheduled for THURSDAY afternoon May 14, 2015 @ 12:00 NOON and AP Microeconomics is FRIDAY May 15, 2015 @ 8 a.m. This is a vital piece of information as you plan for the year ahead. Many of you teach both classes and need to be aware of this for planning student test prep and review.

The deadline to register for the AP Conference is September 15th, 2014. Please note that we need at least TWENTY teachers to make this institute a reality! For more information, and to register, follow this link: Hope to see you there!

Stock Market Game

Welcome to Knowledge Pay$ Off, an online blog designed to empower K-12 teachers with resources, teaching strategies, and content to promote economic and financial education.

Ever consider using the Stock Market Game TM as a teaching tool? The Stock Market Game TM offers 4th-12th grade teachers an opportunity to engage students in an experiential learning activity with real-life applications! Whether you teach math, social studies, business, general studies, or elementary education, the Stock Market Game TM offers something for everyone. In fact, registered teachers have access to a Learning Support Center complete with lesson plans!

Plus, as you know, Common Core standards encourages cross-curricular connections, reading and math skills, research, problem solving, non-fiction literary sources, and real-life applications, all features of this project-based learning activity. And, you don’t have to be an expert to facilitate the game! MCEE also offers free Stock Market Game TM trainings to help reinforce your instructional confidence.

For those not familiar with the game, this is an online activity where student teams receive an imaginary $100,000 to invest in the market. Teachers can choose between a 10-week and a year-long experience. There is one ten-week game in the fall and one in the spring.  Additionally, the SMG offers an “Enrichment” session in March that continues until late May. The year-long game begins September 8th, 2014 and the first 10-week session begins on October 6th, 2014. Teachers can enter the game anytime on or after the start-date.

It is also worth noting that in an independent study conducted by Learning Points Associates Stock Market Game TM participants tended to “outperform their peers in mathematics achievement and financial knowledge” (SIFMA Foundation, 2014). The study also noted that students demonstrated 21st Century Skills and were accomplished in “interpreting complex texts and data” (SIFMA Foundation, 2014).

To hear a Maryland teacher’s testimonial on the Stock Market Game TM and using Edmodo, check out a video of Flo Falatko offered by the Council on Economic Education, our national partner. Please note that the video is part of CEE’s blog series and is found on its July 30th, 2014 publication.

For more information, or to register teams, contact the Maryland Council on Economic Education,  Or to just preview the online experience, check out the SIFMA Foundation’s web site,