Previous PISA assessments have revealed 15-year-olds’ skills in reading, mathematics and science. But how good is their understanding of financial issues, so-called financial literacy? How do they handle bank accounts, credit and debit cards, or planning and managing finances? What do they know about interest rates, savings, risk and rewards? The current PISA assessment by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) tested these issues for the first time and identified significant knowledge gaps. The results were published in Paris today in the presence of Mr. Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General, and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, UN Secretary General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development.
A look beyond PISA shows: the need for financial education among adults is huge, too – with dramatic consequences.
15 percent of students, on average, score below the basic level of performance. At best, these students can make simple decisions about everyday spending. Shanghai-China had the highest average score with Belgium being a distant second.
The gender gap was not significant. This was a surprise because adults do show a gender gap in terms of financial literacy. Additionally it became clear that economically advantaged students perform better. “This is bad news as it contributes to freezing the picture” says Gurría. Queen Maxima comments: “The results are a game changer and an impetus for action in many countries.”