Financial Literacy

What is financial literacy?

Financial literacy has often been defined purely in terms of ‘personal financial education’. Concern is frequently expressed about the capability of individuals in managing their own finances and avoiding levels of debt which they are unable to repay. Given the number of people who get themselves into serious financial difficulties this is an important social objective. Schools have their part to play in equipping young people to avoid these problems. However, this approach to financial literacy appears to lay all the responsibility for financial problems on to individuals. In the light of successive financial scandals and the financial crisis of 2008 this is a difficult position to take. There is, therefore, an argument for extending financial literacy to include knowledge and understanding of bank and government behaviour as well as personal financial management. The document below introduces a framework for a broader definition of financial literacy.

pdficonsmallDownload Financial Literacy Briefing 1: What is Financial Literacy? (PDF, 93KB)

Assessing financial literacy

Assessment is important for teaching and learning in all areas of the curriculum. How else can teachers and students clarify what progress is being made and what to aim for in the future? But assessment tends to have a lower profile ‘non-core’ areas of the curriculum, such as financial literacy. One line of work being followed at the University of Birmingham is the development and evaluation of some assessment items which can be used in schools to assess financial literacy.

pdficonsmallDownload Financial Literacy Briefing 2: Assessing Financial Literacy (PDF, 123KB) 


ASSC Project

Developing a Broad Assessment for Financial Literacy Workshop, 9-10 November 2012
Professor Peter Davies (School of Education) and Dr Lindsey Appleyard (CHASM, School of Social Policy) ran a two day workshop at the School of Education, University of Birmingham to develop a framework and appropriate assessment tools for assessing financial literacy at secondary school level within an international context. The workshop was attended by academics with expertise in financial education from the US and Europe, a specialist provider of professional financial education and secondary school teachers. The assessment developed from the workshop is currently being trialled in Europe and the US to explore the level of financial literacy within a school context to compare outcomes across different countries.

EU Leonardo Partnership Project

Flin € VET: Exploring Conceptions of Financial Literacy in the European VET Context

The University of Birmingham is a member of an EU Leonardo Partnership exploring the place of financial literacy in vocational education and training (VET). There are five countries in the partnership: Germany, Italy, Portugal and Switzerland and the UK. The partnership has developed a framework for analysing VET programmes based on the broad conception of financial literacy from the University of Birmingham and the OECD definition. The partnership began in 2013 and continues until late 2015. The key participants from the University of Birmingham are Professor Peter Davies and Fatima Syed. The project web site can be found at