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The Features and Effectiveness of the Keys to Financial Success Curriculum



    (Department of Economics,University of Delaware)


    (Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia)


    (Department of Economics,University of Delaware)


The global financial crisis of 2007-2009 has generated a renewed interest in including personal finance in the secondary curriculum in the United States and in many countries around the world. This paper explains the features of a successful and unique high school personal finance curriculum, Keys to Financial Success, which is offered by a consortium of partners in Delaware and Pennsylvania, and is available to teachers from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. Using the Financial Fitness for Life High School Test (FFFL-HS Test), pre- and posttest results are reported for 967 students who participated in a one-semester Keys course during the 2011 and 2012 academic years. The survey results indicate that the training of teachers in the Keys curriculum, and the implementation of a one-semester Keys course, significantly improve the average personal finance knowledge of students in each of the standards and concept areas of the FFFL-HS Test. These results contribute to the growing literature showing the positive effects of a well-designed personal finance course, taught by properly trained teachers, on the financial knowledge of high school students, and should be of interest to an international audience.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlos J. Asarta & Andrew T. Hill & Bonnie T. Meszaros, 2013. "The Features and Effectiveness of the Keys to Financial Success Curriculum," Working Papers 13-13, University of Delaware, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:dlw:wpaper:13-13.

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ian Hathaway & Sameer Khatiwada, 2008. "Do financial education programs work?," Working Papers (Old Series) 0803, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    2. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell & Vilsa Curto, 2009. "Financial Literacy among the Young: Evidence and Implications for Consumer Policy," NBER Working Papers 15352, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell & Vilsa Curto, 2009. "Financial Literacy among the Young," Working Papers wp191, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    4. Richard M. Todd, 2002. "Financial literacy education: a potential tool for reducing predatory lending?," The Region, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, vol. 16(Dec.), pages 6-9,34-36.
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    Cited by:

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    2. Sirli Mändmaa, 2021. "Financial Education from the Perspective of University Students: Comparative Study," Eurasian Journal of Social Sciences, Eurasian Publications, vol. 9(3), pages 150-175.
    3. Alex Yue Feng Zhu, 2020. "Impact of Financial Education on Adolescent Financial Capability: Evidence from a Pilot Randomized Experiment," Child Indicators Research, Springer;The International Society of Child Indicators (ISCI), vol. 13(4), pages 1371-1386, August.
    4. Tim Kaiser & Lukas Menkhoff, 2017. "Does Financial Education Impact Financial Literacy and Financial Behavior, and If So, When?," The World Bank Economic Review, World Bank, vol. 31(3), pages 611-630.
    5. Boukje Compen & Wouter Schelfhout, 2021. "Collaborative Curriculum Design in the Context of Financial Literacy Education," JRFM, MDPI, vol. 14(6), pages 1-25, May.
    6. Manuel Salas‐Velasco & Dolores Moreno‐Herrero & José Sánchez‐Campillo, 2021. "Teaching financial education in schools and students' financial literacy: A cross‐country analysis with PISA data," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(3), pages 4077-4103, July.
    7. Popovich, Jacob J. & Loibl, Cäzilia & Zirkle, Christopher & Whittington, M. Susie, 2020. "Community college students’ response to a financial literacy intervention: An exploratory study," International Review of Economics Education, Elsevier, vol. 34(C).
    8. Andrew T. Hill & Carlos J. Asarta, 2015. "Gender and Student Achievement in Personal Finance: Evidence from Keys to Financial Success," Working Papers 15-01, University of Delaware, Department of Economics.

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    More about this item


    Financial Education; Literacy; Assessment; K-12;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • A21 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics - - - Pre-college
    • G00 - Financial Economics - - General - - - General

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