Chinese teenagers in Shanghai know more about money than American kids. So do teens in Estonia.
In fact, in a recent test that measured financial literacy of 15 year olds, U.S. teens ranked in the middle of the pack, alongside Russia and Latvia.
The test, administered by the OECD, tested knowledge of everything from banking and taxes to how interest rates work, and was given to 29,000 students in 18 countries in 2012, in conjunction with a more widespread international assessment of math, science and reading (called the Program for International Student Assessment).
A sample question, for example, quizzes students on how to read a pay slip. In order to answer correctly, a student would have to know the difference between gross and net pay (or the difference between pay before and after deductions, like taxes).
Nearly 20% of U.S. students didn’t even reach the baseline level of proficiency, “or the basic skills that are needed for success later in life,” according to Michael Davidson, head of early childhood education at the OECD.
Chinese students scored the highest, with more than half of students labeled as top performers.
But it’s important to note that the only Chinese students tested were in the country’s largest and wealthier city of Shanghai, a distinction that has drawn controversy in the past.
Other top-ranking countries included Belgium, Estonia, Australia and New Zealand.
Source: CNN Money | Melanie Hicken