SUMMARY OF GRADE
Significant Accomplishments: Required stand-alone personal finance course for high school graduation; K-8 financial literacy standards; Teaching Money Virginia website
AN IN-DEPTH LOOK
Virginia requires a stand-alone personal finance course through the requirement of a one credit course in Economics & Personal Finance. Students may also meet the requirement through a one semester Finance course and one semester Economics course, or through the Virtual Virginia Economics and Personal Finance course. Nine of the eighteen standards in the Economics and Personal Finance Standards of Learning are personal finance concepts. The requirement was implemented with the graduating class of 2015, adding the one credit requirement. Virginia provides the W!SE Personal Finance Certification Test and the Governor’s Challenge in Economics and Personal Finance as optional assessment tools for high school students. Students can obtain a Financial Literacy industry certification through the W!SE test.
Financial literacy-related standards are embedded in the K-8 Virginia History and Social Science Standards of Learning. “Personal finance and economic topics are introduced in kindergarten and spiral throughout the history and social science curriculum through eighth grade.” These standards ensure Virginia students receive financial literacy instruction throughout their K-12 educations. 2005 Virginia Chapter 741 (Senate Bill No. 950) mandates that “the Board of Education shall develop and approve objectives for economics education and financial literacy at the middle and high school levels, that shall be required of all students, and shall provide for the systematic infusion of economic principles in the relevant Standards of Learning, and in career and technical education programs.” Virginia 2009 Chapter 802 (House Bill 2112) also requires that local school boards implement “educational objectives in middle and high school that emphasize economic education and financial literacy.” Virginia is continuing to update these standards and objectives to reflect changes in the financial environment. In 2021, the Virginia legislature voted to add language relating to the gig economy and evolving forms of employment to the list of required objectives for economics education and financial literacy.
Virginia also provides an Economics Education and Financial Literacy: Objectives and Correlations to Mathematics and History and Social Science Standards of Learning and Career and Technical Education Competencies guide, which provides financial literacy standards that correlate to the middle and high school Mathematics, History and Social Science, and Career and Technical Education standards. There are Career and Technical Education and History and Social Science Frameworks available for Economics and Personal Finance. Teaching Money Virginia is a website sponsored by Financial Institutions for Financial Literacy, which provides economics and personal finance resources for Virginia high school teachers, aligned to the Virginia standards and curriculum. Teachers can also submit their own resources to be published on the website. In addition, the Virginia Department of Education provides financial literacy resources on a dedicated webpage.
Virginia receives an “A” for guaranteeing kindergarten through grade 12 financial literacy instruction, through a stand-alone personal finance course required for high school graduation and through individual grade standards for financial literacy embedded in K-8 history standards.