Australian students placed fourth out of 18 countries participating in The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) test of financial literacy, conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
First place went to students from Shanghai, China; second spot was claimed by Belgium's Flemish community; and Estonia placed third.
“We welcomed the fact that 16 per cent of Australian students were top performers in the test, compared to the OECD average of 10 per cent,” ASIC Senior Executive Leader for Financial Literacy, Miles Larbey said.
“I suppose at the same time we noted that on the other hand one in 10 Australian students performed below the baseline level of proficiency, and about 20 per cent performed at the baseline level of proficiency.”
Larbey said while internationally Australian students perform very well, on a national level there’s more that can be undertaken to support all young Australians to face their future in terms of the demands of financial decision-making in adult life.
“I think there’s a lot to be done, particularly in terms of extending the reach of ASIC’s MoneySmart teaching program,” Larbey said.
“We’re really keen to encourage as many schools, teachers, principals, parents, students to get on board with the program, and look at using our resources in the classroom.”
ASIC's MoneySmart Teaching program commenced under an Australian Government initiative between 2010 and 2013.
Further funding has been provided by the Abbott Government to continue the program between 2014 and 2017.
While the PISA results found no overall difference in the financial literacy of boys and girls, students in metropolitan schools performed significantly better than students with similar socioeconomic status who attend schools in rural areas.
“The first thing probably to note is that those results, as I understand it, are consistent with all of the other PISA findings in the areas of mathematics, reading and science,” Larbey said.
According to Larbey, ASIC have developed most of the MoneySmart resources to be available online, so that they are accessible to schools regardless of where they are located in Australia.
“And the other thing is we’ve developed our resources using real live contexts that are not specific to the city or the country so the real life concepts of the program relate to kids wherever they live in Australia,” he said.
“We’re also working to develop resources for, for example, Indigenous students, more targeted resources, so in this way we hope that the program will be appealing and beneficial to students wherever they live.”