Survey results show Iowa high school seniors rank higher than the national average in financial literacy, but there’s plenty of room for improvement. The survey is distributed by the JumpStart Coalition every two years. This year in Iowa, 316 12th grade students from 13 schools took the financial literacy survey. Debra Moore, with the Iowa JumpStart Coalition, says only 39.5 percent of the Iowa kids scored a "passing grade."
"Our passing grade is 12-and-a-half to 13 points higher than the national average, so we’re doing good stuff, we just need to do more of it," Moore said. A passing grade on the test involves answering at least 60 percent of the questions correctly. Moore says the test results show the need for more personal finance education in Iowa schools.
"We need to do more so that they understand the challenges of managing their money, staying out of debt, avoiding scams and all those kinds of things," Moore said. The Iowa JumpStart Coalition, which is operated by volunteers, is planning a financial literacy training session for secondary educators in mid-July.
"We’ll have about 75 teachers that will attend that and they do teach some financial education in the schools. They want more information, so I think that’s a good sign," Moore said. Moore says the test results should also send a message to parents.
Moore says young people can learn a great deal about money management just by watching how their own parents handle their finances. A copy of the survey that the Iowa students were asked to fill out is available on the JumpStart Coalition’s wesite .