Yet another measure of American mediocrity: Financial literacy


A comprehensive study carried out by the OECD (pdf) has unearthed yet another lagging indicator for the American education system.

The study, which examined the results of a financial literacy test that quizzed some 30,000 students in 18 countries around the globe, found that 15-year-olds in the U.S. aren't all that good with money. In fact, they're pretty mediocre with it. America's youth are, according to the results, "not statistically significantly different from the OECD average."

The administered test was meant to assess which students could perform basic financial tasks, like, say, calculating the balance on a bank statement, which were capable of understanding more esoteric financial concepts, like, say, the implications of different income-tax brackets, and which were "unable to make even simple decisions about everyday spending.”

The bad news is that it's hardly the first measure by which the U.S. has proven unimpressive—Americans have actually performed far worse in other global proficiency studies. The good news is that it could be a lot worse—Colombia's youth, by comparison, are much more confused by money matters.

 

Roberto A. Ferdman is a reporter for Wonkblog covering food, economics, immigration and other things. He was previously a staff writer at Quartz.
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Roberto A. Ferdman · July 9, 2014