Below is another quiz to look at skills related to financial literacy, this one was developed by the FINRA Investor Foundation, as part of their Financial Capability Study. Recent reports note that 85% of Americans got at least on question wrong on this quiz. In this case, most questions are connected to mathematical thinking and understanding, although some are about specific products. What strikes me, in this quiz, as it did in the last one, is that the mathematical questions are really about basic numbers sense and understanding – do things getting bigger or smaller when certain relationships are in place. Often, in math classrooms, we are so focused on kids practicing skills that we leave out discussions about what’s happening and these discussions can be particularly rich when we ask kids to make predictions about what will happen and defend those predictions based on what they know about mathematics and relationships.
For example, in the case of the first questions in this survey, what if instead of posing that questions as it is, you gave your students the following information:
Suppose you have $100 in a savings account earning 2 percent interest a year. What do you think would happen after 5 years?
There are lots of opportunities to take financial education content and work it into math classrooms in ways like this – getting kids talking about money (investments or debt) and the ways it might grow – linearly and exponentially – and what happens over time and how long those times frames might be. This can help to create awareness of the different types of financial products available and what those difference might really be about.