NTC Case Story: The Value of K-12 Financial Education


NTC’s case story on an innovative financial literacy experiment by economist Lewis Mandell is available now for download. Read the results of Dr. Mandell’s work and learn how North Dakota middle school students were influenced by an in-school finance education program. (Running Time: 3:43)

The Content

“Starting Younger: Evidence Supporting the Effectiveness of Personal Finance Education for Pre-High School Students” is an in-depth look at an educational program delivered to middle school students in North Dakota. The program focused on financial literacy with an emphasis on saving habits. The results are available in this downloadable case story.

The findings from the program and experiment were presented at the Aspen Institute. Here, these findings are also presented in part through NTC’s ‘Hands-On Learning’ video series. In this popular series, facts and figures are presented through imaginative storytelling featuring props, photos and a pair of disembodied hands. “Hands-On Learning” is a fun and unique way to pick up the basic facts of the program. After the video, download the full case story for more details.

Our Approach

NTC consistently pursues new methods of measuring our educational programming. “Starting Younger” is a perfect example of our in-school enrichment education combined with a fresh approach to evaluation.

Students in grades five through nine in ten schools in North Dakota were provided with education related to money management through a live theatrical performance, classroom learning and take-home activities designed to engage parents. The students attended a play entitled Mad About Money that focused in part on the importance of saving habits. Afterward, students were exposed to a week or more of related classroom teaching.

In addition to the performance and classroom lessons, the North Dakota program featured both pre- and post-tests and included an experiment, conducted by economist Dr. Lewis Mandell, to test actual saving behavior. Students were given a dollar bill whose serial number had been recorded. They were told that if they brought that identical dollar bill back in two weeks, they would receive a second dollar bill. A test group received the in-school program before receiving the dollar, while a control group received the dollar several weeks before the performance and classroom work. The hypothesis was that students in the test group would be more likely to save the dollar than those in the control group. The overall results were presented at the Aspen Institute by Dr. Mandell.

Key Takeaways

“Starting Younger: Evidence Supporting the Effectiveness of Personal Finance Education for Pre-High School Students” contains valuable insights from the financial literacy program implemented by NTC and enhanced by Dr. Mandell’s follow-up experiment. Some key points are:

  • Educational intervention significantly increased student knowledge in the area of saving by more than 13%
  • The improvement by younger students surpassed that of older students, making a case for early financial literacy education
  • Gender played a significant role in program results

Download the case story now to learn more.