Education, Treasury Recognize High-Scoring Students in the 2010-11 National Financial Capability Challenge

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Education, Treasury Recognize High-Scoring Students in the 2010-11 National Financial Capability Challenge

More than 84,000 Students Take “Challenge” State-by-state Results Available at

April 21, 2011

As part of an ongoing effort to mark national Financial Literacy Month, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of the Treasury today recognized high-scoring students in the National Financial Capability Challenge for the 2010-11 school year. The Challenge, which includes a voluntary online exam for high school students, helps teach young Americans about saving, budgeting, investing and other important skills critical to building a secure financial future.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Treasury Deputy Secretary Neal S. Wolin honored top-scoring students today at a public meeting of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C. Nationwide, more than 84,000 high school students and 2,500 educators in all 50 states and D.C., as well as in U.S. Department of Defense schools for children of military members around the world, participated in the 2010-11 Challenge.

“It's critical for our young people to develop smart financial skills,” said Secretary Duncan. “If we're going to prepare our students for 21st century success, we have to teach them about earning and spending, saving and investing. Otherwise, they're going to learn the hard way: by making mistakes. I'm encouraged to see the steps that teachers and states are taking to make basic financial education a priority and congratulate these students on their great work.”

“Empowering students with the knowledge they need to make good decisions about saving, budgeting, and investing is critical to helping them build secure financial futures,” said Deputy Secretary Wolin. “I want to congratulate these students on their achievements and thank them for serving as examples to their peers about the importance of financial education.”

Students who scored in the top 20 percent nationally and those who were among the top scorers in their school will receive official award certificates. Idaho, Vermont and South Dakota had the highest average test scores among states on the 2010-11 Challenge, while Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey had the most students participate. State-by-state results and sample questions from the exam are included below and at

In blog entries posted on the websites of the Treasury and Education departments, high-scoring students honored at today’s ceremony in Washington, D.C., wrote about the importance of the Challenge in helping provide young Americans with a strong foundation in financial education.

Anna Martin, a student from the Ephrata Area School District in Lancaster County, Penn., wrote: “The Financial Challenge was a great way to test how much students know about real life financial situations. Students will have to deal with financial situations similar to those on the test and need to know how to handle them.”

Carlos Riveros-Sabogal, a student from the Applications and Research Laboratory school in Howard County, Md., wrote: “I believe the Financial Capability Challenge is important because it allows students to demonstrate their ability to handle money wisely. In today’s economy, it is vital for young people to learn how to handle their finances properly to avoid financial struggle.”

Challenge participants scored 69 percent on average, demonstrating that many students still need to make additional progress in strengthening their financial skills and knowledge. The Obama Administration is taking further steps to help empower Americans through improved financial capability. In November, the Administration unveiled a new coordinated National Strategy for Financial Literacy to help guide the ongoing efforts of the federal government and private organizations to empower Americans with the financial skills they need to strengthen their long-term economic security. Additionally, the Administration established the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability to provide advice on how to maximize the effectiveness of existing private and public sector efforts and to identify new approaches to increase financial capability.

State-by-state results from the 2010-11 Challenge are included below:

State State Average Score Participating Students Perfect Scores Students Who Scored in the Top 20% Participating Educators in the State
Armed Forces (Europe)73.59%11003211
Armed Forces (Pacific)74.46%1650515
New Hampshire70.28%655517724
New Jersey66.49%4,87618882106
New Mexico66.04%1571269
New York69.11%4,29620936143
North Carolina66.22%1,438724567
North Dakota70.26%39939413
Rhode Island61.72%794312017
South Carolina67.50%654412829
South Dakota76.28%14505412
West Virginia61.51%813212021
  1. Carolina has $5,000 saved from working at different jobs. She puts her money in a savings account that pays 4 percent per year in interest. How much money will be in her account at the end of the first year and at the end of the second year?
    1. End of first year: $5,100; end of second year: $5,400.
    2. End of first year: $5,200; end of second year: $5,400.
    3. End of first year: $5,200; end of second year: $5,408.
    4. I don’t know.

    (Answer: C)

  2. Marco went to the grocery store to buy a box of cereal. The type of cereal he liked came in three different brands and three different size boxes. To select the brand and the box with the lowest unit cost, he should look at the:
    1. largest cereal box on the shelf.
    2. most popular brand of cereal.
    3. price per ounce of cereal in each box.
    4. I don’t know.

    (Answer: C)