SUMMARY OF GRADE
Requires one credit stand-alone personal finance high school course, Career Preparedness
Some personal finance standards in K-8 Social Studies standards
AN IN-DEPTH LOOK
One of only five states which requires a stand-alone personal finance course for high school graduation, Alabama has placed a priority on financial literacy by ensuring each graduate has been exposed to its concepts and its importance. The required course, Career Preparedness, was implemented by the Alabama State Board of Education at its September 13, 2012 meeting, where it was unanimously adopted to “Replace the Computer Application .5 unit requirement for high school graduation with a .5 unit of Personal Finance/Financial Literacy that can serve as a CTE Course,” beginning with the graduating class of 2017. The one credit course can be taught in Grades 9-12, but the Alabama State Department of Education recommends the class be taught in Ninth Grade, which is less effective than later in high school, as knowledge will likely fade before a student needs to utilize personal finance skills. Career Preparedness focuses on “academic planning and career development, financial literacy, and technology.” Adopted with the help of the Alabama Council on Economic Education, the course has 23 standards, 13 of which are personal finance in nature, fully exposing high school students to financial literacy.
In the Curriculum Guide to the Alabama Course of Study for Social Studies Grades K-12, there are personal finance standards and objectives in Grades K, 1, 2, and 7. This means that personal finance standards are not fully embedded into Alabama’s K-8 standards.
Although Alabama ensures robust financial literacy instruction in high school through the required stand-alone personal finance course, by not having financial literacy standards for each grade, K-8, Alabama receives a “C” for not ensuring financial literacy instruction from kindergarten through 12th grade. Alabama needs to create financial literacy standards for Grades 3-6 and 8 in order to receive an “A.”