Evaluation of the Financial Literacy Pilot Program, SY14 Final Report
Prepared for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
From the report's introduction:
In July of 2012, the Massachusetts State Legislature established the Financial Literacy Advisory Committee to advise the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) on the development of a 3-year Financial Literacy Pilot (FLP) program for 11 high schools in 10 Gateway Cities. 1 The advisory committee is co-chaired by the commissioner of elementary and secondary education and the state treasurer, and includes members from the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, the Council on Economic Education, public school districts, financial organizations, professional associations and unions, and Massachusetts institutions of higher education.
This competitive grant program is designed to “equip high school students with the knowledge and skills necessary to become self-supporting and make critical decisions regarding personal finances.”
Planning grants were awarded to the 11 high schools at the end of March 2013. Teams of educators and community partners worked during April-June of the 2012-2013 school year to develop financial literacy programs that aligned with the 2011 Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for Mathematics and the Economic Education Council’s National Standards for Financial Literacy. The planning grants also supported teacher professional development in financial literacy.
The 2013–14 school year was the second year of the grant and the first year of program implementation. The sites continued to work with community partner organizations to develop their programs by offering professional development to teachers and refining curricula. Districts were required to provide a minimum of 12 hours of professional development (PD) to instructional staff. During this time, the sites implemented their financial literacy courses and other program components.
During the first year of implementation, ESE contracted with the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute (UMDI) to conduct an evaluation of the FLP. The goals of the evaluation’s first year were to inform ongoing FLP programs, document process and outcomes of the first year of implementation, and prepare for additional years of evaluation in the event that program funding is continued. UMDI also provided program coordination supports that included leading an evaluation overview webinar for the sites and other stakeholders, creating and disseminating monthly newsletters, conducting individualized evaluation consulting sessions with each site, providing evaluation assistance, and presenting initial evaluation findings at the annual grantee meeting.