overview of research study

Using a strategy that blends a practical, hands-on learning curriculum, teacher training, and an experiential learning tool, the mobile game Thrive ‘n’ Shine, this approach seeks to improve students’ financial literacy, financial capability, and financial self-efficacy (henceforward, we will refer to this program as the TEx2 Experience or TEx2).  Additionally, TEx2 bridges classroom-based financial education with students’ access to actual savings accounts, through a school-based credit union, as well as behavioral outcomes related to students’ interacting with real financial concepts.

The research study will use a randomized controlled trial design in which classroom-based cohorts of students (approximately 50% of students) will be randomly selected to participate in TEx2.  These students will participate in TEx2 for three or four weeks, during one curricular unit of a course, which will replace the traditional personal finance instruction that is offered in these schools.  The control group of students will participate in the traditional personal finance instruction for the same three or four weeks during one curricular unit of the same course.

Both the treatment and control groups will receive incentive offers to open up savings accounts through a school-based credit union.  Five different incentives will be offered, allowing for comparison of the response rates to the various types of incentives.  In addition to the incentives, the research study will examine and compare the behaviors that the treatment and control groups of students engage in with respect to account utilization and real life budgeting and saving.