SUMMARY OF GRADE
Significant Accomplishments: Required stand-alone General Financial Literacy class for high school graduation; Required passage of financial literacy end-of-course exam for high school graduation; Financial and Economic Literacy Passport
AN IN-DEPTH LOOK
Utah requires the completion of a stand-alone one-half credit course of General Financial Literacy for high school graduation, the first state to do so. The course is for juniors and seniors and has four strands with multiple standards, providing robust financial literacy instruction. Students may also fulfill the requirement by completing a one credit Adult Roles and Financial Literacy course, in which four of the eight strands are personal finance concepts. Furthermore, students may fulfill the credit requirement through completing a one credit Business Math and Personal Finance course, if the instructor is endorsed in General Financial Literacy. The course has eight personal finance standards.
2003 Utah Chapter 315 (Senate Bill 154) mandates that “The State Board of Education shall establish rigorous curriculum and graduation requirements” that “include instruction that stresses general financial literacy.” In June 2004, the Utah State Board of Education approved the General Financial Literacy Core Curriculum, which utilized a stand-alone course. The personal finance requirement went into effect for the graduating class of 2008. 2012 Utah Chapter 398 (House Bill 156) adds “a general financial literacy test-out option” to the state graduation requirements. 2014 Utah Chapter 070 (Senate Bill 40) mandates that school districts “contract with a provider, through a request for proposals process, to develop an online, end-of-course assessment for the general financial literacy course” and requires each student who takes the General Financial Literacy course to be administered the end-of-course assessment. Passing the assessment is not a requirement for graduation.
2008 Utah Chapter 397 (Senate Bill 2) creates an optional Financial and Economic Literacy Passport in the state of Utah. The passport is “a document that tracks mastery of financial and economic literacy concepts and completion of financial and economic activities.” The bill also requires the State Board of Education to “more fully integrate existing and new financial and economic literacy education into instruction in kindergarten through twelfth grade by coordinating financial and economic literacy instruction with existing instruction in other core curriculum areas such as mathematics and social studies.” The Utah State Board of Education, in partnership with the Utah Education Network, maintains the Finance in the Classroom website, which provides teacher, student, and parent resources. This includes lessons and activities, called Integrated Activities, for each grade, K-12, which can specifically be integrated into Mathematics, Social Studies, or Language Arts. It also provides instructions and resources for completing the Financial and Economic Literacy Passport, which is a combination of in-class and at-home activities, catered to each grade K-12.
Utah has specific financial literacy standards in its Social Studies standards for Grades K-2. While Utah does not have specific personal finance standards or embedded personal finance standards in all its K-8 standards, the Financial and Economic Literacy Passport ensures financial literacy instruction through its financial literacy integration in K-8 Mathematics, Social Studies, and Language Arts.
Utah receives an “A” for providing financial literacy instruction from kindergarten through grade 12, including a required stand-alone personal finance course for high school graduation and K-12 financial literacy instruction through the Financial and Economic Literacy Passport. Also, by requiring an end-of-course assessment in financial literacy, Utah can ensure and evaluate its financial literacy instruction.