SUMMARY OF GRADE
Significant Accomplishments: Some personal finance benchmarks embedded in social studies standards.
Needs Improvement: Needs to require high school stand-alone personal finance course and implement grade-specific K-8 financial literacy standards
AN IN-DEPTH LOOK
Montana does not have any specific high school graduation requirements involving personal finance. A student must complete two units of social studies for high school graduation. As there are no specific social studies courses required, the Montana Content Standards for Social Studies provide benchmarks for what students should know upon certain grades. Upon graduation, only one of the thirty-six benchmarks covers financial literacy.
The same standards guide has K-12 social studies standards. Benchmarks for what students should know at the ends of grades 4 and 8 are provided. Similar to the high school benchmarks, there are only a few personal finance benchmarks for the ends of grades 4 and 8, failing to provide robust financial literacy instruction for all students.
Montana receives a “D” in financial literacy, as it provides minimal financial literacy instruction through a few standards. In order to raise its grade, Montana should add a stand-alone personal finance class as one of the required social studies units or as an elective. Montana also needs to create grade-specific personal finance benchmarks for the ends of Grades K-8, to ensure instruction in each grade.