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Financial Literacy to Be Tested on International Exam

A prominent international assessment of student achievement will include a new topic—financial literacy—when the testing regime is next administered, with results to be released in 2013.

In all, 65 countries and educational systems will take part in the next round of testing under the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA. Students from 19 of those participants, including the United States, France, Israel, Poland, Brazil and Shanghai, China, will take the financial literacy exam, according to a press release issued yesterday from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD, which oversees PISA.

"Helping young people understand financial issues is important, as younger generations are likely to face ever-increasingly complex financial products and services," the OECD release says. "They are also more likely to have to bear more financial risks in adulthood than their parents, especially in saving, planning for retirement, and covering their heathcare needs."

Aspects of financial literacy to be tested include:

• Dealing with bank accounts and credit/debit cards;
• Planning and managing finances;
• Understanding taxes and savings;
• Understanding financial risks and rewards; and
• Consumer rights and responsibilities in financial contracts.

A draft framework for the new financial literacy exam was issued in December.

The announcement comes as the OECD in December released results from the latest PISA testing in mathematics, science, and reading. We got a fair amount of mileage out of that, with a first-blush overview of the results, a follow-up story looking at high-achievers, and one last story about a small Missouri school district that decided to compare itself to the world.

In fact, we also put together a few blog posts, including one on how top scoring nations got there, a video series spotlighting strong performers, and what people said about the results.

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