Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2014


With rising personal and public debt, public and private employers increasingly shifting financial responsibility to individuals, and an increase in both the number of financial investment options and predatory lending practices, today’s students need to be financially literate. This paper defines financial literacy and justifies its place in the mathematics curriculum. After describing the gaps in young people’s understanding of financial literacy, which is more pronounced among women and minorities, this paper provides examples of financial literacy exercises. College students’ solutions demonstrated that the level of financial literacy is low. The majority of students were unfamiliar with financial principles and concepts. Students found it difficult to estimate answers and judge the reasonableness of their solutions. Reading compre - hension and general cognitive skills led students to incorrect answers. The difficulties students had reinforce the need for financial education and developing students’ general cognitive skills.


This work was originally published in Journal of Mathematics Education at Teachers College.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.