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July 10, 2014

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Home » Metro » Education

City students show wealth of talent by topping worldwide financial test

SHANGHAI school students have come top in an international test of financial literacy, organizers said yesterday.

Representing China in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) test, city students beat competitors from countries such as the United States, France and Russia, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development said.

More than 40 percent of Shanghai entrants showed the highest level of proficiency, compared to an overall average of less than 10 percent among other countries.

The PISA financial literacy test was sat by 15-year-old students across 18 countries, with China the only contestant from East Asia.

It is the first large-scale international test to assess young people in their knowledge of personal finances and their abilities to apply it to financial problems, said the OECD.

According to the Shanghai Education Commission, nearly 1,200 Shanghai students took the test in 2012. They were selected randomly from 155 schools including middle schools, high schools and vocational schools.

Shanghai students had the highest average score of 603 points, while the average for all countries was 500 points. The United States scored 492, while France and Russia scored 486.

More than 98 percent of Shanghai students reached a basic level of financial literary competence, while the average of all countries was 84.7 percent.

About 43 percent of Shanghai students reached the highest level of proficiency — meaning that they have a macro view of finance and are able to solve complicated finance problems.

The average attaining this highest level among all countries was 9.7 percent.

Lu Jing, secretary to the PISA program in Shanghai, said students’ good performances in the  financial literacy test is closely related to their math and reading abilities.

Shanghai students came first in mathematics, reading and sciences of PISA tests in both 2009 and 2012, which helped them to achieve a good score this time round, said Lu.

An OECD survey showed 8.9 percent of the Shanghai students took finance education courses at school, while 46 percent learned financial knowledge at other classes.

More than a quarter of the students said they gained financial knowledge outside schools.

Ni Minjing, director of the basic education department of the education commission, said about 20 percent of middle and high schools in Shanghai have optional courses in finance.

“Financial literacy competencies are important for students who are the future and wealth-holders of a country,” Ni said.


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