study questions & answers

When will the study take place?

The course would ideally kick off near the end of the first semester or beginning of the second semester of the 2015 – 2016 school year, but the timing is flexible.

How long will the course last?

Ideally, the course will occur for four weeks.

What are the criteria for high schools to participate in the study?

High schools who are interested in participating in this study must:

  • Already have in place a personal finance unit of study or personal finance course, which a significant number of students take.  The personal finance unit of study can take place in any course (e.g., social studies, economics, mathematics, etc.);
  • Have teachers who are willing to be randomly selected to teach either TEx2 or the traditional personal finance instruction already in place at their school; and
  • Provide the evaluators with student assessment data and demographic data that have been stripped of personally-identifiable information.

What are the main components of TEx2?

The main components of TEx2 are:

  • Mobile game – Thrive ‘n’ Shine
  • Hands-on curriculum that is aligned with state and national standards, as well as Thrive ‘n’ Shine
  • Teacher Training
  • Access to savings accounts

What are the criteria for credit unions to participate in the study?

Credit unions who are interested in participating in this study must:

  • Have one or more school-based credit union branches in affiliated high school(s);
  • Provide interested high school students with the opportunity to open up savings accounts at their credit union;
  • Agree to provide the evaluators with administrative data on savings account usage and behavior; and
  • Be affiliated with at least one of the high schools that agrees to participate in this study.

Please note that there will be no cost for credit unions to participate in this study.  In fact, participating credit unions will essentially receive monies and prizes to be awarded to students as incentives for opening savings accounts at their credit unions.

Why should a school and/or credit union participate in the study?

This study is being commissioned/supported by the Treasury Department of the United States of America.  It is one of the most unique and innovative approaches to financial capability ever attempted.  The findings will be disseminated widely via press releases, social media, conferences, etc.  Taking part in the study will likely result in additional local, regional, and national media exposure and attention/interest for participating high schools and credit unions.  In addition, it is likely going to result in great improvements in students’ real life money management skills.

What benefits will teachers receive?

The teachers and research coordinators who participate in the study will receive training, stipends, and graduate credit and/or CEU’s.

What benefits will schools receive?

High schools that participate in the study will receive stipends for participating and to defray any administrative costs.

What benefits will students receive?

Students who participate will have the opportunity to learn how to manage their money in a very engaging way. Moreover, because they will practice managing their money experientially, they will likely develop excellent money management skills in real life.

how will the study work?

Ideally, all students from the same grade level would participate in this study, in either the control group or the treatment group.  The control group will engage in the financial education course that is currently in place at the high school.  The treatment group will engage in TEx2.  Teachers who opt-in to participate in the study will be randomly assigned to be in the treatment group or the control group, and their students will have the same designation (treatment or control).  

The teachers who opt-in to participate in TEx2 will receive training prior to the start of the course.  They will also receive a mobile device, assessments, and lesson plans that they will use to implement TEx2 within their classrooms.  Teachers who are a part of the control group will teach the course at the same time as the treatment group and will administer a pre-assessment, post-assessment, and follow-up assessment near the end of the school year.

How many total students are needed for the study?

At least 500 total students are needed for the study.

Who are your evaluators?

The Research Division of the Economics Center at the University of Cincinnati will serve as the evaluators for this study.  

WHich individuals from the school will be involved?

The individuals from the school (district) who would be involved include:

  • Teachers: whichever teachers opt-in to participate.
  • Students: the students whose teachers opt-in to participate.
  • Research Coordinator: a teacher or administrator who will manage the coordination of the research efforts (including logistics) and data collection.

can you tell me more about the curriculum?

The TEx2 curriculum is being developed by the Education Division of the Economics Center and an experienced, award-winning personal finance teacher.  It will be aligned with state and district standards, as well as the Council for Economic Education’s (CEE) National Standards for Financial Literacy.  The curriculum is hands-on, interactive, and grounded in experiential learning.

what will the teachers who participate in the study do?

The teachers who participate in TEx2 will do the following:

  • Participate in Training before the course begins
  • Prepare to teach TEx2
  • Administer the pre-, post-, and follow-up assessments to their students
  • Complete pre- and post-assessments of their experience teaching
  • Some may provide qualitative feedback on TEx2 through interviews with the evaluators
  • Implement the full curricular unit by teaching TEx2

The teachers who do not participate in TEx2 will do the following:

  • Administer the pre-, post-, and follow-up assessments to their students
  • Complete pre- and post-assessments of their experience teaching
  • Some may provide qualitative feedback through interviews with the evaluators

WHAT is the role of the research coordinator?

A research coordinator at the high school or district will manage all aspects of the evaluation on the schools’ end and serve as a liaison among the school, project team, and evaluators. 

Will there be staff training for the study?

Yes, the entire school staff will receive training in preparation for the research study. Staff will have all of their questions answered, and they will be given contact information of the appropriate contact person for any additional questions. 

must all teachers participate in the study?

No, the only teachers who will participate in the study are those who opt-in to participate.  After a teacher opts in, she or he will be randomly selected to teach either treatment group(s) of students or control group(s) of students. 

can a school participate even if it does not have tablet devices?

Yes, Thrive 'n' Shine has a web-based version that can be played using almost any computer.

What kind of data will credit unions be asked to provide?

Credit unions will be asked to provide administrative and historical data regarding student savings account openings and savings account utilization.

WILL consent be obtained for students to participate?

Yes, students will be provided with consent forms that enable their parents to opt them out of participating in the study.  All data that the evaluators obtain will have been stripped of personally-identifiable information.

can the control groups of students and teachers receive training after the study has concluded?

Yes, absolutely!  Teachers for the control groups of students will have the option of receiving training after the study period has concluded, after May 2016.  Additionally, students in the control groups can get access to Thrive 'n' Shine after the study period has concluded, after May 2016.