September 2014

Financial Literacy and Economic Education Information for Pennsylvania Teachers
2014-2015 Webinar Series Announced

Pennsylvania teachers and administrators are encouraged to learn more about implementing the new Model Curriculum for Pennsylvania Financial Education Programs on the 2014-2015 Making Cents webinar series. Each webinar will provide valuable content information as well as free curriculum resources to help teach the core concepts and reach competency in all six big idea areas.  Mark your calendars with the dates below and register now. A separate registration is required for each session.


All Making Cents webinars are available at no charge. Two sessions will be held each day to accommodate various schedules: 3:00pm - 4:30pm and 6:30pm - 8:00pm.  


DateBig IdeaCurriculum Resource
10/22Money Management
11/13Earning Money
IRS's Understanding Taxes
1/29Borrowing Money 
Hands on Banking 
2/18Financial Services
Bank and Credit Union Resources
3/12Risk ManagementNext Generation
4/22Saving and InvestingTBA


Sessions from the previous series are available in the archive of the Making Cents Project website.

First International Assessment of Youth Financial Literacy Shows U.S. Students Around the Average

Every three years, the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) tests 15-year olds around the world in a variety of academic areas. The latest study was the first to include an 

assessment of financial literacy. Students in the United States performed near the average of the 13 OECD countries and economics that participated putting it on par with Spain, Croatia, and Israel. More than one in six students in the U.S. did not reach the baseline of proficiency in financial literacy. A snapshot of U.S. results can be found here


The results show relationships between financial literacy skills and mathematics and reading performance as well as socio-economic status. 


Consider downloading the U.S. snapshot, a four-page analysis, or the entire report and engaging your students in a review of the data and discussion of the findings. Answering sample questions, such as those found here, could serve as an interesting discussion starter in class. For each question, the correct answer is shown and the content of the question and what was being assessed is discussed. Finally, consider watching a recording of the announcement including comments by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan here.  

Scholarships Available for the Jump$tart Coalition's National Educator Conference in Los Angeles 

The National Jump$tart Coalition is hosting a National Educator Conference November 8-10 in Los Angeles, California. It is the only national conference for classroom teachers dedicated to personal finance education in the classroom. Each year the conference provides PreK-12 educators with financial education resources, personal and professional development, access to a nation-wide network of colleagues, and general support for financial education. 


This year Experian is offering 20 scholarships on a first-come, first-served basis. Act quickly and download the application today. The conference brochure and registration is available on the Jump$tart website here

Resource Spotlight: Take Charge Today

The Take Charge Today program offers a comprehensive set of free, ready-to-teach classroom materials, teacher training, newsletters, grants, online resources, and other tools to further financial education in grades 7-12. The programs are "by educators...for educators" and are research based. Some may recall the program from its former name, Family Economics and Financial Education (FEFE).


To access the materials visit their website and request a user name and password. If you wish to preview materials in advance of registering, you can download samples of the lesson plans for grades 7-9 (introductory level) or grades 10-12 (advanced level).


A highlight of the program are the Active Learning Tools for grades 7-12 which encourage student engagement and activity (sample here). Teachers also appreciate the program's suggestions for integrating technology, service learning, and more. 


The program is made available by The University of Arizona's Take Charge America Institute. All lesson plans and materials can be downloaded free of charge from the website, but hard copies are also available for purchase. 

C Bowen
Expand Your Knowledge:
Financial Literacy, Financial Capability and Financial Education
by Cathy Faulcon Bowen, Ph.D.


The use of the terms financial literacy, financial capability and financial education could cause confusion for those who are very technical and need to have everything in black and white or discrete categories because sometimes the terms seemed to be used interchangeably depending on the source. However, for general communication with the public, does it matter if these terms are discrete? 


Financial literacy is the ability to use knowledge and skills to manage financial resources for a lifetime of financial security. This definition was offered by the National Jump$tart Coalition´┐Ż for Personal Financial Literacy and later adopted by the United States government (Hung, Parker, & Yoong, Defining and Measuring Financial Literacy, 2009). Researchers and others have offered other definitions with the intent to measure financial literacy in tangible ways over time (Remund, 2010; Schmeiser & Seligman, 2013).  However, from a practical perspective, financial literacy is simply the ability to effectively manage money for personal needs.


Financial capability is a term first used in conjunction with the 2010 President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability (PACFC).  PACFC was the successor to the 2008 President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy. Financial capability was defined as "the capacity, based on knowledge, skills, and access, to manage financial resources effectively. In order to develop this capacity, individuals must have appropriate access to and understanding of financial products, services, and concepts. Financial capability empowers individuals to make informed choices, avoid pitfalls, know where to go for help, and take other actions to improve their present and long-term financial well-being" This definition was likely an attempt to further define a financially literate individual.


Finally, financial education is the formal and non-formal activities (seminars, workshops, webinars, classes, practical experiences), that occur periodically and/or repeatedly that build our financial knowledge, skills, and ability to operate in the marketplace. Financial education occurs in many forms and places (i.e., at home, schools, workplace, and communities) and can continue from childhood to older adulthood. 


Distinguishing among these terms do matter in academic settings and when discussions are being held among teachers, researchers and policy makers.  However, in communicating with the general public, it may be more important to focus on increasing consumers' knowledge, skills and desirable behaviors and not place too much attention on the words used when discussion or conversations are being held about improving personal financial knowledge or skills. The bottom line, focus on the end-improvement in learners' ability to manage money to meet their needs and to operate in our ever-changing marketplace.



Hung, A. A., Parker, A. M., & Yoong, J. K. (2009, September). Defining and Measuring Financial Literacy. RAND Corporation.

Remund, D. L. (2010). Financial Literacy Explicated: The Case for a Clearer Definition in an Increasingly Complex Economy. The Journal of Consumer Affairs, 44(2), 276-295.

Schmeiser, M. D., & Seligman, J. S. (2013, Summer). Using the Right Yardstick: Assessing Financial Literacy Measures by Way of Financial Well-Being. The Journal of Consumer Affairs, 243-262.

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Expand Your Knowledge
Schoolhouse Rock
Literature Connection
Schoolhouse Rock


Did you or your students catch The ABC's of Schoolhouse Rock special this weekend on ABC?

Did you know that an entire series of these classic 1970's cartoons were devoted to the topic of money? They include "Dollars and Sense," "Tax Man Max," and "Where the Money Goes." 


To use them in the classroom search online or purchase them on DVD. 


Children's Literature Connection:
Lunch Money and Frindle



Lunch Money by Andrew Clements is a popular chapter book for students in upper elementary or early middle school grades. It follows the adventures of young Greg Kenton as he makes money selling miniature comic books. 


A great companion book to read is Frindle in which another boy coins a new term for pen and ends up making lots of money unexpectedly. 


Both books are at 4th-5th grade reading level with guided reading levels of R and DRA of 40. 


Corresponding lessons are available from Scholastic here and here

About this Message 

Making Cents is a cooperative effort by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania State University. If you find the content useful, please consider forwarding it to your colleagues. 


Team Members:

Sally Flaherty, PDE

Cathy F. Bowen, PSU

Hilary Hunt, Consultant

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