In this session of the Econ Lowdown webinar series, economic education specialists from the St. Louis Fed provide an overview of the recently approved Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education personal finance standards. In addition, this webinar will introduce you to award-winning personal finance resources to help you meet the standards. Learn to use our interactive syllabus, which makes it easy to choose videos and online courses, and find out about printed lessons and activities.
Download the webinar presentation (pdf).
Below is a full transcript of this webinar. It has not been edited or reviewed for accuracy or readability.
Denise Qaoud: Good afternoon. Welcome to today's Econ Lowdown webinar. Our discussion for today focuses on teaching the newly revised Missouri Personal Finance Standards with Econ Lowdown. I'm Denise Qaoud, with the St. Louis Fed, and I'll be your facilitator. We have an outstanding lineup of presenters today, also from the St. Louis Fed, Scott Wolla and Eva Johnston. Now, please join me on slide two, and I'll cover the call logistics. If you haven't already done so yet, click on the webinar link you received after registering. This option offers a few benefits. You can watch the slides as they are advanced. You can type questions to us, download the session material and choose to listen to the audio through your PC speakers.
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To ask questions for our presenters today, you can submit them at any time by clicking on the "Ask Question" button in the webinar tool. And be sure to keep your mouse handy throughout the webinar as we will be asking you to participate in a polling question later on. One additional note: the views expressed in this presentation are those of the presenters and not the official opinions of, nor binding on, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, nor the Federal Reserve System. Now, with all of that out of the way, let me welcome our first presenter, Eva. Take it away.
Eva Johnston: Thank you, Denise. Today, I'd like to share with you the agenda on slide three. And today, I'll be talking about the revised Missouri Personal Finance Standards. In 2006, because of the newly passed state law, the first personal finance standards were created for the state, so they had not been revised for 11 years, so, this is the new revised version. Besides going through the revised standards, we're also going to identify some classroom resources that can be used to teach these standards, and they'll be active curriculum that teach skills.
We're going to share some tips for utilizing these resources in your classroom and answer questions. As we look at the next slide, you can see where you can find these materials. Everything today will be available at www.stlouisfed.org/education. As we look at our next slide, we will find the first of the Missouri Personal Finance Standards. These standards were put together by a committee from across the state of Missouri. They were former and current personal finance teachers, parents, and business professionals. There was a university review. There was a time for public comments and a period of revision.
I was fortunate enough to be a member of this committee, and I can attest that many people worked hard and put in long hours and were very thoughtful about trying to put together useful standards for the students in this state. Now, as we look at this first slide of the standards, you can see on this slide that it's about financial decision making, and as you think about the financial decision making, that is the overview, and then next is concept one. So, you have an overview and a concept, and then there will be letters. And those A, B, and Cs, will be skills that we want students to be able to know and do, and so that's going to be the same for each of the seven standards.
This first one about financial decision making is really laced all through the standards, and you will see that. As we look at the next slide, you will see the second standard, which is about earning income, and this is usually very interesting to students. But besides wanting to earn income, they need to know how they are going to earn income. And so, the key concepts are looking at choices and consequences of those choices, and then there are specific skills that we like students to be able to do because of that. They can look at forms of compensation and learn about taxes and other deductions that will come out of that first paycheck, so that's the second standard.
As we look at the next slide, you have an opportunity then to look at the third standard, which is about buying goods and services. When we think about buying goods and services this is a fundamental part of our economy, and so students, first of all, are introduced to the concept of creating a budget. Then, the skills they need to learn are looking at differentiating between income and expenses. There are four particular concepts that are in this buying goods and services. A second big concept is the idea of purchasing items of high value and how to go about doing that.
The third concept is considering the alternative goods and services. And as we look at the next slide, we see a fourth concept for standard three, buying goods and service, is the notion of selecting financial institutions because the financial institution is indeed a service. As you look at the next slide, you'll find that the fourth standard is savings. And one of things that is important when people think about saving, is they're really setting aside money that can be spent in the future. So, it's like, "Are you going to spend now or spend later?" And sometimes, for students, that's a good way to look at it and get them to realize saving is a very powerful tool, and that's addressed in the first concept of reasons for saving. A second concept is in the interest on saving, and then you look at saving instruments.
So, as we go to the next slide, we get to the fifth standard, and the fifth standard is looking at credit and how to use credit. And so, on this one, it has three different concepts: the idea of the different facets and parts of credit and looking at interest on credit. And as we look at the next slide, we get into the important concept of credit worthiness. Now, we have five standards so far. And moving on to the next slide, you'll see the sixth standard. In this, it's all about protecting and insuring; people making choices of how to protect themselves.
In this one, the two big concepts that we have, one, would be protecting against financial risks by insuring. This is a more fundamental one that people are very comfortable with and more used to hearing about. But a newer concept that is really important for young people to understand is about protecting their personal identity, and this is one that is definitely evolving and to help analyze ways to protect against identity theft and cyber attacks, and so this is definitely an updated version from what we've had before.
If we move to the next slide, slide 13, we will find the last of the standards, standard seven. And in standard seven, it's about financial investing, and here the key concept is to think about the different instruments that can be used as investments. And the next big concept is to look at the relationship between risk and reward and help young people understand that they need to be comfortable with the amount of risk and look at the relationship between risk and reward.
As we move on to the next slide, slide 14, it will look familiar to you because this is the Econ Lowdown slide again. And the reason I take you here, is that today, I would like to share with you many of the online resources we have available to teachers. We know that many schools are now one to one, that many of the students have their own Chromebook or other device that they can use. And one of the things that is useful in this way is that you want to have good materials that you can have the students use and ways the teachers can follow and see how the students completed the work. And most importantly, have they learned anything, and do you have evidence of that learning? And that's partially what you can see in using Econ Lowdown.
As we look at this slide, you can either use the web address, or quite frankly, if you prefer, you could just google Econ Lowdown. And as you google Econ Lowdown, if you do, the first thing that will pop up is the student login. And the reason the student login will popup first is because for the second year in a row we've had over a million students enrolled in our Econ Lowdown learning modules. Now, here, if you look, you see there's the button for teachers, and that's the one that I would like for you to be looking at right now because that's where you would go to access all these materials. They are available from anywhere, not just in Missouri, anywhere that you can access the worldwide web, and they are free.
As we look at the next slide, this would be slide 15, you'll see how you log in. And as you get to the log in, you will find that if you are already familiar with Econ Lowdown, and you say, "Oh, I've done this before." But if you haven't been here for a while, there's a new feature that I'm going to share with you, and that is a syllabus that we have now created that you can use for your classes. If this is new to you, then here's how you log in. You would go ahead and instead of putting your e-mail and your password in here, you can click on the part that says, "Register." And when you do, here's what it looks like.
So, let's look at the next slide. As an instructor, we ask for some basic information about you and your school. Incidentally, we would like you to know and share with your parents and your students that when we have you enroll your students, we track only the student progress because we want to evaluate our learning tools to see if they're being effective. We do not keep or share student personal information.
Now, if you'd please look at the next slide. After you've registered you'll be sent a password, and your password you can change. It's a temporary one, and you can change it. But as you look at slide 17 here, you will see it'll say, "Hi," and your name. And when you get there, you can click on your classrooms if you already have some. Or, as you click on your classroom, going to the next slide, you'll see how to add a new classroom, and so on slide 18, it shows what to do to add a classroom.
Under classroom name, here's where you would type say, first period, Personal Finance, and that's where you would put it. It's a good idea to be as specific as possible when you are typing in the name of your class just for your own clarity, so it's easy for you to find it. If you are teaching three sections of Personal Finance, you want to make sure you can keep them straight. On the beginning date here, if you prefer, you can type in the date yourself, or a little bit over to the right you can see there's a little calendar, and so if you'd like you can click on that calendar button and just pulldown and it'll put the date, and you don't have to type it.
here's also on the box below the ability for you to put the end date. I would suggest that you go ahead and put the last day of the semester in there. And the beginning date, you can start this coming Monday, if you'd like. It is important to look at that little green "Create" button because after you have set up the name of your class and put the beginning and ending data on there you do need to push the "Create" button in order to create the class.
As we look at the next slide, you can see that I have created a class for today called "Personal Finance Webinar," class, and that is just how it would look if you had created your class. If you look right below the name of the course, you can see that it says, "Syllabus." And it's kind of in bold. The syllabus is a new feature that we have on Econ Lowdown. And the purpose of the syllabus is to allow you the flexibility to create and add different resources and different documents. If you look, you will see it has a "Custom Content" button down there that will allow you to add your own contents. And you can also look up here and see the resource gallery, where I have that red arrow for you. And if you click on the resource gallery and we go the next slide, you'll see what's in our resource gallery.
As you look at that resource gallery, I'd like to draw your attention over to the left side where you can see the green boxes for filters. There are a variety of things you can look at here. One, being at the bottom, you could even decide, do you want to have things that are just in Spanish? I think I cut it off of the slide, but the one below that tells you if you were looking at something in a particular length of time. Above that, you can select grade range, so you know which grade appropriate material you are looking for, or groups of lessons.
You can look for specific topics. You can look at the subjects, and I would invite you to click on the one that says, "Resource Types." And it's where that red arrow is. And the reason I want to go there today is because if we go to resource types, you're going to find as we go to the next slide that, for your convenience, we have created a prefab syllabus that you can find and use. And if you look under "Syllabus" under this resource type, you will see in this gallery that we have a syllabus created as the "Sample Missouri Personal Finance."
Now, what I have done here is to take all of the personal finance resources available, whether it's an online learning module, a video, a podcast, and even some custom content stuck in there, too, that address different parts of the personal finance standards. And they're all put in order and under the specific standard, so that, you, as a teacher can pick and choose. If we look closely, you'll see there's a number 76 there, and that's because there's 76 different resources that you get to pick from.
If you'd like to add this and create this and put it in your classroom, then what you want to do is go ahead and "Add to Classroom." And if you look in the lower right corner there, you will see that you add it to your classroom, and you want to go ahead and push that button. As you do that, if we go to the next slide, if you're brand new to Econ Lowdown and this is your first class, then it will be very easy for you to find. But if you have been using Econ Lowdown for a while, you may find that you have several classes already in there.
So, you want to make sure that you select the class that you really want the resources added to. So, I have done that, and I have it in the box here, and you can see it is our personal finance webinar class. Now, if you go to add this, do note that it will take a little bit of time. Because to download 76 resources, it takes more than just a blink of an eye. So, do be patient. Don't worry. It's not going to take hours or anything, but it does take just a little bit of time.
As we look at the next slide, slide 23, this is where it's important to note if you want to add it you have to go to the classroom to publish it. And this is something that you want to make sure that when you publish it, what it means is you are putting it out there for your students to be able to see, and so once you add it to your class, then it says, "Would you like to publish it?" Then you click on "Go to your classroom." And it will take you right back to the screen of your classroom, which you would find on the next slide, slide 24.
And as you look at slide 24, the "Publish" button is green, and it's in the lower right corner. And you can look at the slide to show you exactly where it is and you go ahead and you hit publish, and that means that your students would have a chance to see this. Now, on that note, because this particular webinar is about introducing the new standards and giving you a curriculum that you can use to teach those standards, we did not include how to add students, but that's not difficult. You can just upload a CSV file, and if you have questions, there are directions on Econ Lowdown on how to add the students. Or, if you do have any kind of trouble with it, please feel free to e-mail me, and I'll be happy to help walk you through it.
If we look at the next slide, please, that would be slide 25. This is where you indeed are publishing, sending to your students. And when you do, you're going to—there's a note down at the bottom where it tells you, indeed, "yes," you have just added 76 resources to your class. By the way, when you're doing that, as you're adding those 76 resources, you're going to find that there is this little pencil as you see at the top, and you also see that is says, "Missouri Personal Finance Standards."
What I have done, what I have included in this sample syllabus is, I actually included the complete listing of all seven standards. To edit something, if you don't want that to be included in your syllabus for your students, feel free to go ahead and you can delete that portion if you'd like, and the delete would be putting it in a little trashcan. If you hit the little pencil there, the pencil allows you to edit and remove any part you would want to.
If we look at the next slide, as you look at this sample Missouri Personal Finance, what you find is that these particular things you can preview, and you can look at any particular piece you would want to. And as we preview and look at the next slide, if we think back to those standards and we think of the first standard looking at unlimited wants and limited resources, you can see here a sample of some of the resources available for you to teach this particular standard.
There is an online module about the art of decision making. That happens to take about—you can look and see the length of time. It takes about 15 minutes for students to complete. There's also an online lesson, Cards, Cars and Currency. You can look at that one and decide—if I decide I want them to do all three of these, or maybe you only want them to do one, you have the ability to customize and add things and take them out, whatever you'd want. What we have done for you is give you the choice by listing everything that fits under each of these standards.
Also, if you look, there's little arrows on the left side, and those arrows will allow you to navigate and move things up and down. So, if you wanted to change the order—incidentally, you're in this order because of the dates. But if you would like, instead, to assign these on different dates, you can do that. You can go in and customize with an edit pencil. You can also go in, and if you do change the dates, it will automatically cause them to float.
So, for example, if you went down and decided, "I want them to do thinking money scarcity. I want them to do that before they do the others." You can change an assignment date or move them up or down. Incidentally, if you don't want your students to see everything all at once, you can change those dates and add them later when they start. Remember, you get to put in the start and the finish dates, and if you do that, it will still be there. It will just be grayed out, and so it will be there, and they can see it, but they can't get to it yet.
If we look at the next slide, you'll see some of the choices available to you for teaching Choice and Decision Making. You could use a podcast, the Economic Lowdown audio series, Opportunity Costs. Or, you could use an online module about opportunity cost. As we look at the next slide, you will see some of the choices you have available, a curriculum you can use to teach your students about career choices. One of the first is the online module from, "It's Your Paycheck." And below that, you'll see there's just a web address, and the reason that's in there is that's custom content. And what I've done is I've taken one of our Page One newsletters that happens to be about income and wealth, and I've added it to here, so that you can assign it to your students and have them read it online and then complete it if you would want to.
So, that's something you can do with custom content. You can add these things in. As you can see, we have videos, online modules, podcasts, and a variety of online materials, especially if you're a one-to-one school that you've been assigned to your students. As you look at the next slide, you can see that there are materials for teaching the second standard about taxes and other deductions. There are several choices that you get to pick from, or you could assign all of them depending on how much time you have to teach this curriculum.
As we look at the next slide, you will see that there are several offerings about teaching about budgeting. There's the Budgeting 101 course. We have a Cards, Cars and Currency lesson, and also an It's Your Paycheck lesson. So, you could click on any one of these and preview it and decide, "Is this the one for me? Is this what I want?" As we look at the next slide, we will find, I think we have a polling question.
Denise Qaoud: Yes, that's right. Thank you. So, for our audience members, if you guys could go ahead and grab your mouse, get that handy, and you should see a polling question popping up on your screen here in just a moment. Go ahead and make your selection while I read the choices out loud. And the question is, "How many online resources are preloaded on the sample personal finance syllabus? The options are: A, 12, B, 25, C, 55, or D, 76. So, go ahead and make your selection, and while you guys are doing that, I'd like to just remind you that if you have a question for our presenters today, you can submit them at any time by clicking on the "Ask Question" button, and we would love to take your question. So, I'm going to go ahead and stop that poll, and I will show our results. That should be coming up here pretty soon. Oh, wow! It looks like 100% say, "B, 76." And Scott, I'll turn it over to you.
Scott Wolla: Thanks, Denise. So, yes, if you copy that syllabus into your classroom, you'll have 76 resources on that syllabus. And from there, as Eva was telling you, you can adapt and edit and add and subtract, but it's a great place to start when you're teaching the Missouri Personal Finance Standards. I want to talk about a new curriculum that we have, called "Making Personal Finance Decisions." This is a collection of traditional lesson plans. There are 20 lessons. Each one is an individual, stand alone lesson, so if you teach the 18th lesson in the series, it's not going to say, "Back in lesson 16, you should have learned X."
You can put the lessons wherever you want in your curriculum, and you can basically treat it like an a la carte menu. There are 10 themed units, and those themes actually go really well with the Missouri Personal Finance Standards. So, if you look at the standards, and you look at the themes and the chapters, you'll be able to easily tell where the individual lessons will fit into your curriculum.
Many of these lessons use active learning, so they get students into groups, or out of their desks and really active in the process, which research shows makes learning stick. And then, also, we believe at the St. Louis Fed that personal finance is an application of economic decision making, and that's very apparent in these lessons. So, you could teach this in an economics class, or you could teach it in a personal finance class, a business class or FACS class. It has a home in many disciplines.
Next slide, please. This year has been a big year for making personal finance decisions curriculum. It was awarded the Excellence in Financial Education award by the institute for our financial literacy, and it was also given the Gold Award by the NAEE Organization. And so, this has been recognized as a first-class curriculum produced at high standards and applicable in a lot of classroom situations.
Next slide, please. And on the next two slides, we're actually going to take a look at some of those 10 themed units and the 20 lessons, and the way this page is organized is that the numbers are the units, and the letters beneath are the lessons that go with that theme. So, for example, I'll be talking a little bit about lesson 5A. So, five, the theme is budgeting, and under budgeting, we actually have two lessons that you can use to teach that. We'll be taking a look at making a budget—or, I'm sorry, we'll be looking at 5B, Budget Trade-offs—A Penny Here, and a Penny There.
Other favorite lessons -- actually, 1A, is a really fun lesson to kind of kickoff your economics and personal finance class and to get the students thinking about income and equality and the value of education and a lot of issues. On the next slide, you can see some of the other themes and lessons that this curriculum includes. We'll be looking a little bit at lesson 9A, which is in the themed unit of borrowing, and lesson 9A specifically is “The Three Cs of Credit.” And you saw that the Missouri Personal Finance Standards spends quite a bit talking about credit and risk and reward and a lot of those concepts are captured in this lesson.
Also, there's actually a great insurance lesson here. Insurance lessons are hard to come by. But 10B, “Is Insurance Worth Buying?” is a great lesson on insurance that involves students drawing random life event cards. And after they have kind of decided what kind of coverage that they're going to have, and then they experience, you know, some of what life sometimes has to offer. Next slide, please. This is just a screenshot to show you just a little bit of the lesson layouts on the left side. You see the screenshot of the cover slide of an individual lesson.
The lesson has a lesson description. It has the standards, the benchmarks, the grade level, a compelling question, and then from there the lesson goes step by step in a very strategic question and answer, you know, right out of the box lesson format. Towards the end of the lesson are any handouts, any visuals, as well as the individual standards that that lesson meets. The lower right shows the PowerPoint slide, so the lessons that have visual components, those visuals are contained in the lesson, but also are available on our website as premade PowerPoint slides, so you can just download those slides and take them right into the classroom.
Again, these all include compelling questions. They have assessment questions for the individual lessons that you can either use when you teach the lesson, or you can include it in your formative and summative assessments that you do along the way to make sure that you're assessing student learning along the way. Also, aligned with standards, these are the National Personal Finance Standards and the National Economic Standards.
Also, we have some great editors and layout professionals at the St. Louis Fed, who have done a lot of work. And, of course, one of the biggest selling points of this curriculum is that it's free. It's available on our website. You just go to the website, and I'll give you the actual URL towards the end, but if you go to the St. Louis Fed website and search for making personal finance decisions, you'll find the web page.
We're going to take a deeper dive into two of the lessons. And I say deeper dive, but I'm just going to give you kind of a general overview of the lesson. Lesson 5B is about budgeting, and you can see the compelling question there. "Why must consumers make trade offs when allocating their income among different spending options?" One of the challenges with teaching budgeting to students is the students really don't have an income, and they oftentimes don't have real bills, and so it's all very hypothetical for students because they don't have a lot of real life experience when it comes to experiencing budget constraints and having to make those choices. This lesson actually does a good job of giving them some kind of an experience.
On the next slide, you see a handout that you give the students, and the handout is actually two pages, and the students lay those two pages on the desk in front of them, and then they're given 20 pennies. Each penny is supposed to represent $100 of income, and so it replicates a $2,000 monthly income. The student has to allocate that income among the different budget categories, and within each category they have a lot of variations into, you know, how much comfort or how much luxury, or to what extent they want to spend in each of those categories.
But right up front, at the top, there's a mandate that they must spend four of their pennies, or $400 on taxes. From there, they allocate the rest of their income among the categories, and it's really a fun lesson to do because students do actually really wrestle with, you know, how nice of a car they want to have, and, you know, how big of a house they want to live in, how much health insurance they want to have, how nice the clothing, and how stylish of clothing. And so, it really gets them into making those decisions in a relatively realistic way.
I've done this with high school students and college students and adults, and it does a pretty good job of replicating the budgeting process. There is a surprise in this lesson in that once students think they have it all figured out, you have a little financial shock. And if you click the next slide, they find out that they have two fewer pennies. So, the lesson has you talk about this in terms of maybe you've lost that part time job, or maybe your employer had to cut your income or your wage, maybe you lost your job and got a new job at a lower wage.
In any case, you're faced with those same budget constraints, but now you have to reallocate, and this, of course, is like real life; right. So, many of us who manage our budgets find ourselves, you know, monthly, or every other month having to refigure all these categories to make sure everything fits in. And so, that's just a brief overview of that lesson. Of course, it does have an assessment. It has PowerPoint slides and all the other things that I mentioned before.
Next slide, please. One other lesson I want to highlight because I think it hits the Missouri Personal Finance Standards really well, and because it's just a great lesson, it's called the "Three Cs of Credit." The compelling question here, "How do lenders evaluate risk when making loans?" And on the next slide, this lesson is a little bit different than a lot of other credit lessons because the students are put in the chair of the lender; okay, so they are the loan officers. The students are introduced to the three Cs of credit, so capacity, character, collateral. The lesson provides a pretty good structure for students to understand exactly what they mean and how they play into assessing risk on the lender's side.
And then, beforehand, there's a little bit of teacher prep in that the teachers prepare 12 different envelopes. In each of those envelopes are a number of slips of paper, and when students come to class they get into groups and they pick one piece of paper out of each envelope, and those 12 pieces of paper build a borrower's profile. And because this is all random, every group is going to have a different profile, and so you're going to get a very different experience going from group to group as you walk around the class and see what they're talking about.
On the next slide, I drew, you know, just kind of 12 different sheets of paper, those slips of paper, and build, you know, the imaginary profile of a lender to show you what it might look like for a group. So, here we have a borrower who has an income $50,000, has worked at his current place of employment for six months, has a minor traffic violation, has $5,000 in savings, has a college degree, has a FICO score of 450. You know, you can go down the line, and these are 12 different, pretty strong markers, pretty meaningful markers that lenders would look at in real life.
So, the first task for students is after they draw these 12 markers to talk about whether or not this person is a good credit risk. And the quality of the conversation the students have is really amazing, so they wrestle with, you know, what a 450-credit score has to say about this person and how that lines up with the other markers, such as, you know, 50% of monthly debt payments. They discuss whether or not that's too much. They talk about, you know, the importance of having other assets and collateral.
After they've had a chance to talk about what this means in terms of risk, then they fill out the assessment sheet. And if you click to the next slide, on the left side, you're going to see the assessment sheet that the students fill out. And so, what they do is that borrower that they created randomly, they assess that borrower on the three Cs of credit. So, they assess their capacity, their character, and their collateral. They indicate whether or not it's high, medium, or low risk for each of those three indicators.
And then, they draw one final card, and that final card is the one you see on the right, which is the loan request card, and again, there are 12 of these. So, some of these loan request cards might be they want to borrow a thousand dollars for a computer, or it might be borrowing $250,000 for a house, and from there, they've got a good feeling for how much risk they want to take on the borrower. Then they consider the loan request, and they decide whether or not they're going to grant the loan, and, once again, the quality of the conversation is pretty impressive.
I think you'll be amazed to hear your students really talk about this from the lender's perspective. Again, this lesson has an assessment piece. It has PowerPoint slides, so that you can plug it into your classroom wherever you think it might be best. Next slide, please. And finally, again, you see the cover of the curriculum. The curriculum is available on our website. You can download the entire curriculum of 20 lessons, or you can download individual lessons. You can download the PowerPoint slides. Again, it's all available for free.
The URL is at the bottom of the page, or if you go to our website, www.stlouisfed.org/education, and you search for making personal finance decisions, you'll see it come right up. And once again, these are great lessons, and they are a great way to teach the Missouri Personal Finance Standards. On the next slide, you're going to see that webpage on our website, the stlouisfed.org/education, and just below, this is a screenshot of the top half of the page. If you are on the page and you scroll just a little bit below, you would see a search box where you could enter any of the resources that were discussed today and find it. Or, the website also has a great filtering mechanism, so you can plug in filters like: personal finance, high school, and credit, and it's going to pull up the resources that hit those quality markers.
And with that, we will open it up for questions.
Denise Qaoud: All right. At this time, we would love to have your questions. So, just a reminder, if you would like to ask a question, just click that "Ask Question" button on the webinar platform, and you can submit your question that way. We did get a couple of questions rolling in already. The first one is, "How many of the standards overlap from the previous standards, and what standards are completely new?"
Eva Johnston: I think that all of the standards overlap, and as far as being new, really the only thing that's spelled out that, in a way, it's not really new, but it's spelled out, is the very first standard, and that is the idea of looking at financial decision making. Many times, that is sort of implied or embedded and the whole notion of scarcity and that every decision out there incurs an opportunity cost, and helping students to understand that that opportunity cost is in fact that next best alternative that one would have. So, it's really a retooling, and some of these are a little bit deeper, but it includes everything that was in the old standards.
Denise Qaoud: All right. Thank you for that. The next question we have is, "How does grading and scoring work within this system?"
Eva Johnston: Oh, okay. That's a great question for the online materials. The pretest is something that the students take. It's usually 10 questions, and they are graded as far as, you know, if it's correct or not, and then there's a number grade that they get, so it would be a percentage. So, if it was 10 questions, and say on the pretest they got four right, it would be scored as if they had a 40%. And then on the post test, the same thing for the questions, and then it would be scored. Hopefully then, after taking the course, they might get a 100% on the post test, but the scoring would be—they would have multiple choice questions. And so, it's looking at the correct answer and the percentages. Thank you.
Denise Qaoud: Thank you. Another question we have is, "After you customize the course for one class, is it possible to copy the course to multiple sections and semesters?"
Eva Johnston: That is something right now that once you customize and you create it as yours—I don't have the slide up here, but I'll just refer to it. There was a thing, by author, when you filtered on the side, and if you look, it would be your custom content. And once you had created a syllabus, then you could take that syllabus that you had created, and you can add it to another course. And so, in essence, that is one of the positives of creating the syllabus is that you can do that, and you would then just go in and change the hour and add those students in the class.
Denise Qaoud: Great. Thank you. Another question that we have, or more of a comment actually is, "I'm not sure again how you would align the class assignments with what the teacher needs to get the lessons started. Can you re-elaborate?"
Eva Johnston: Okay. Would you mind repeating that one for me?
Denise Qaoud: Yes, sure. "I'm not sure how you align the class assignments with what the teacher needs to get the lessons started. Can you elaborate again?"
Eva Johnston: Sure. I think if I'm not answering this correctly, please feel free to e-mail me or call because I do want to answer the question as you would like it. But if you're using the online modules, or anything that's—the online materials that I talked about for the syllabus, the first thing you'd have to, like, get your students started in the course, have them enrolled, and you'd have to give them the codes to get in.
And so, if that's what your question is, that is something that the first time the students do it, there is a little bit of a curve. I mean, they have to figure out how to log in. And if that's the case, if you're a first-time user of Econ Lowdown, I would suggest that when you assign all your students that you also put yourself in as a student. That way if somebody has a question that you can see exactly where they are.
Because the online learning modules are a combination of the pretest to find out what they know, and then, it's usually a series of—sometimes there will be a little video clip. There's some reading. They'll be some knowledge checks along the way, and so that's kind of how it works. If I didn't answer your question, please feel free to contact me, and I'd like to follow up with you.
Denise Qaoud: Great. Thanks for that, Eva. Okay, let's see if we have anything else. Again, just a reminder for our audience. If you'd like to ask a question, just click that "Ask Question" button. The next question that we have is, "Are these standards similar to the National Standards for Financial Literacy?"
Eva Johnston: Okay. That's something that the members of the committee looked at and used it as sort of a guide because those were created by experts, and so it's like, "All right. How do those fit with what we want for people in Missouri?" And there was a lot of input on that, and that's one of the things that, if you look, those standards are very similar; however, those have benchmarks for fourth grade level and eighth grade, and by the mandate from the State of Missouri, this is only for a high school course.
So, it doesn't have the underpinning. These don't have the underpinning that the national standards do. However, if you do look, they are very similar at the high school level. One difference, though, is at the beginning to have the very first economic decision making as a first standard. That's not how it is on the national standards. Theirs is embedded in each one, but our committee felt strongly to go ahead and have decision making. Because that's sort of a fundamental that is a bridge between economics and personal finance because personal finance is so much the application of economics. But to help students think and look at the whole process of understanding every choice they make has a consequence, and it's a short term and long-term consequence. That's the base difference.
Denise Qaoud: Great. Thank you. We have another question. "Having just become aware of all of these resources, do you view the Econ Lowdown as a stand-alone curriculum or a supplement?"
Eva Johnston: It depends upon the amount of time you have to teach. We intend, when we create or put it out there, as something that the teacher is the person in the classroom that can best judge and utilize the resource in the sense that this is never meant to supplant a teacher, but instead, to support a teacher, and it's another way that a teacher can assign work for students to do either in class or outside and really to give the teacher more flexibility. It's meant to be a teacher tool to move their students forward and help them really understand and know more about personal finance.
Denise Qaoud: Great. Thank you for that. I'm just going to check and see if we have any more questions coming in. Okay. Let's see. One other question we have is, "Are all of these resources available for free at the St. Louis Fed website?"
Scott Wolla: Yes. Thanks for asking. So, yes, all of them are available for free. You can use the Econ Lowdown online learning portal for free. Just sign up, register for an account, and then go ahead and setup your classrooms. There will never be a cost to you or your students or your school. The other resources are also free. In fact, you don't even have to setup an account. You just find them on our website, download the PDFs, download the PowerPoints, and plug them into your curriculum wherever they feel most comfortable.
Denise Qaoud: Great. Thank you. Okay. At this time, I don't see any further questions rolling in. Would either of you guys like to make any closing comments before we wrap this session up?
Scott Wolla: No. I want to thank everyone for dialing in today and watching the webinar. If you have any questions, both Eva and I would be happy to follow up with you. I think our e-mail addresses are not on the slide. We are available at stlouisfed.org/education. There is a contact link on our webpage, and it goes into a common e-mail box, which is monitored all the time, and we will get back to you ASAP and answer any of your questions.
Eva Johnston: I'd like to also reiterate what Scott said, and say thank you. Thank you for dialing in. We appreciate it. We hope that you will refer to this, and if you have questions, please do feel free to contact us. When you look at our Econ Lowdown page, do look and note that we have events in that top button, and we do professional development here at the bank, and we also travel to schools. So, if this is something that you would be interested in, please check back, so you can see events that we'll be doing for teachers here.
We do have other opportunities—you can subscribe to updates and newsletters. If you're interested in professional development, we have an opportunity for you to earn college credit. You can get that on Econ Lowndown. And especially for Personal Finance teachers, I would like to point out that there's those green buttons towards the bottom. There's the flashcards. And we have personal finance flashcards that are really a nice teaching tool that are in decks of 30 that you can have your students go through and review personal finance terms and check themselves, and it's a really nice review tool that's available there. So, thank you.
Denise Qaoud: Great. Thank you both so much, and I'd like to thank our audience for attending today. If you joined us via the webinar tool, you likely saw a survey link popup on your screen. Please take a moment to fill that out, and let us know how we're doing. We truly value the feedback. We'll also be sending the survey out via e-mail, but you only need to fill it out once, please. And with that, I will officially bring this session to a close. Thank you all so much for joining us, and have a great rest of your day.
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