SUMMARY OF GRADE
Significant Accomplishments: Required high school course with minimal embedded financial literacy instruction; Social Studies: Economics End-of-Course Exam; High schools required to offer Financial Literacy elective with Financial Literacy End-of-Course Exam; K-12 Personal Finance Standards
Needs Improvement: Needs to require high school stand-alone personal finance course
AN IN-DEPTH LOOK
While it does not provide robust financial literacy instruction, New Mexico requires a half-credit economics course for high school graduation, which contains some personal finance standards. Grades 9-12 Social Studies Standards have three benchmarks under the Economics strand, one of which has a few Performance Standards that relate to personal financial literacy. Students must take the Social Studies: Economics End-of-Course exam, which means students are tested statewide on some personal finance concepts. Furthermore, New Mexico requires that each high school offer Financial Literacy as an elective. Financial Literacy is taught as a mathematics course, which may count as one of the four required mathematics credits. The New Mexico Public Education Department requires a Financial Literacy End-of-Course Exam for the elective which is “intended to measure student proficiency of the Common Core Standards pertaining to Financial Literacy” and “is provided to all students who have completed Financial Literacy or related courses.”
In its Social Studies Standards for grades K-8 Personal Finance Literacy is included as a theme in each grade, with aligned performance standards under each grade ensuring that students are exposed to foundational elements of personal finance.
New Mexico receives a “B” in financial literacy instruction. Although New Mexico minimally tests all high school students in personal finance concepts through the Social Studies: Economics End-of-Course exam, high school students only receive instruction through the standards embedded in the required economics course unless they take the elective course. In order to improve its grade, New Mexico should make the Financial Literacy course a requirement for graduation.