Check the Record

Young high school students around the U.S. are increasingly interested in economics and discuss the economy more often, but are no more knowledgeable of the subject than they were in 2006.

The Nation’s Report Card, released Wednesday, shows that the share of students performing below the Basic level of competency in Economics has declined, yet the increases to higher proficiencies were not significant.  Although students in the lowest 10th and 25th percentiles improved their scores from 2006, the overall average test score for all students is essentially unchanged at 152 out of 300.

National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education

National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education

At the same time, this same set of students report that economics courses help them understand various topics and an increasing number are seeking more information.  Around 86 percent of students report that high school coursework improves their understanding of the US economy, with slightly smaller shares for the international economy, current events & public policy, and personal finance.  Most of these numbers, however, are roughly the same as six years ago.  The number that has shown a significant increase across three of the topic areas is the number of students seeking more information on their own time.

National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education

National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education

Young students are increasingly interested in the economy, yet their levels of understanding are not increasing at the same rate, or at all.  It is encouraging that students acknowledge their existing courses as helpful, but progress needs to be made to show improvements in their proficiency as they become more engaged in an increasingly interconnected global economy. 

In addition to reading The Economist, The Financial Times, and Project Syndicate on their own time, they should also check the Record!

See the report for more information and a breakdown of the data by race, gender, public vs. private, parents education, etc.

Oh, and while you are at it, try testing your own economic literacy here.

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