A single-semester, research-based program for high school students. There are 7 modules containing a total of 79 lessons exploring key financial content and processes. Each lesson features detailed preparation information, step-by-step instructions, teaching tips, slides and handouts for teachers, as well as accompanying workbook pages for students.
finEDge is taught in high schools by consumer education, business, economics, social science/studies, and/or financial algebra teachers.
Materials were field-tested by 38 teachers in 76 classrooms with 2,000 students across 7 states. Click here for information on results.
Acknowledging that students come from a variety of economic backgrounds, finEDge challenges educators to fill in the blank with any type of student. Regardless of whether or not an individual student’s choices are limited by or expanded by the economic environment in which they live, all students are faced with financial decisions. finEDge’s Financial Decision-Making Process, woven throughout the program, incorporates deliberate reflection on personal values, attitudes, social influences, economic factors, and risk in making financial decisions. This focus on financial decision-making in context ensures that finEDge is the right program for all students.
finEDge believes financial education is different from many other academic subjects in its focus on long-term behavioral change. Traditionally, people think of learning as changing the mind. But learning can also involve changing behaviors. Our goal was to develop an educational program for changing financial behaviors.
The finEDge team studied the standards as part of developing a program philosophy, specific lesson and activity sequences, and instructional routines. As part of this process, we examined considerable research related to financial literacy content and pedagogy, as well as examining the specific standards within each content domain. The standards influenced our program philosophy, our program learning goals, the recommendations we made for the scope, sequence, and nature of lessons on each content domain, and the recommendations we made for how we approach teaching the content. Particular sets of standards influenced but did not dictate the content of finEDge, as we balanced research, standards, and our own judgment in designing our program.
finEDge offers extensive teacher support in a variety of formats throughout program implementation. In-person professional development sessions familiarize teachers with materials and facilitate reflection on best practices, instructional style, and pedagogical approaches. These sessions provide teachers with the opportunity to refine their craft and stay current in the field. Additionally, an online, self-paced course builds on teachers’ pre-existing knowledge and experience with finance to deepen understanding of program content. The finEDge team also regularly hosts short, online video conferences that outline lesson content and features in each module. Further, an online community for teachers provides them with opportunities to find and share instructional resources, connect with other teachers, and organize the content most useful to them. Teachers may also interact with finEDge authors and watch lesson videos via this platform.
In addition, finEDge offers point-of-use teacher support in the form of a variety of types of notes within the lessons themselves.
A variety of intentionally designed digital tools are incorporated throughout each module. Students create digital portfolios in which they organize, synthesize, and revisit information throughout the program, and connect learning to their own lives. Concept maps at the end of each module help students improve their metacognition and confidence in personal finance. A variety of calculators allow students to explore the costs of saving and borrowing decisions.
The finEDge team did extensive research in developing the program, including how students learn financial concepts, decision-making, behavior change, and what high school students need to know. The results of this research provided the basis for the program. Click here for more information.
From the research, we know that our backgrounds play a major role in financial decision-making. They shape the financial options that we have, our norms and values around money, and more. It’s important to us that our students see themselves in our curriculum, and have opportunities to practice financial decision-making in a way that is relevant and relatable. Moreover, we want the cultural relevancy to be substantive and not superficial--it’s essential that we go beyond including culturally diverse names, and also offer diverse and representative scenarios. We constantly reviewed our writing to ensure we created access points for all students.
The research makes clear that parents and guardians play a major role in shaping students’ attitudes and norms around money. It seems to us that for a financial education curriculum to be truly effective, it has to involve parents and guardians which is especially difficult to do in high school. In our curriculum, we create opportunities for students to discuss what they’re learning in class with their parents and/or other trusted adults, and also provide students with the tools to reflect on the norms and relationships that shape their views on money.
We hear from students that one frustration they have with financial education is that it doesn’t recognize what students already know about money. And moreover, it doesn’t teach students what they want to know about money. We also know our students come from a variety of backgrounds, so what is common knowledge for one student, may be new knowledge for another. One way we addressed this is by providing teachers with tools to assess, and adapt to, students’ familiarity with the financial topic in each lesson. This flexible approach is another way we create more access points for students, who may differ in their familiarity with the content.
Differentiation suggestions offered at the end of every lesson support teachers in providing access or deepening understanding of key concepts. Access activities scaffold understanding or build requisite background knowledge. Extension activities allow for more in-depth exploration of topics or content introduced in the lesson.