Aug 23, 2023

Six Steps to Crafting a Pacing Guide that Meets Your Needs

One of the most common questions that we get about the NGPF Curriculum is “Do you have a pacing guide for…?”. Because we serve a national audience of teachers with varying state standards, school schedules, and student demographics, it’s not possible for NGPF to create a one-size-fits-all pacing guide. That being said, we want to help you to create your own pacing guide by sharing some of the most common suggestions we hear from veteran NGPF teachers.

Here are some basic guidelines that will help you create your own pacing calendar:

Step 1: Understand Your Time Frame
Start by breaking down your course’s time frame:


  • You teach a semester-long course: 90 days. 
  • Non-Teaching Days: Account for school events, teacher training, testing days and other non-instructional days.
  • Instructional Days: That might leave you with 71 effective teaching days.
  • Class Duration: 45 minutes, five days a week
  • NGPF Lessons: Knowing that there are 68 lessons in the Semester Course - many of which can span multiple days - recognize the need to trim some content

Step 2: Review State Standards
Most states have a list of required personal finance standards. NGPF’s curriculum is aligned to the National Standards for Personal Finance Education:


  • Highlight topics your state requires
  • Consider removing or shortening units or lessons that might not be covered by your state’s standards 
  • Take a look at NGPF's mini-units for topics like Philanthropy or Buying a House that you might want to include to satisfy standards that aren’t covered in the core curriculum 

Step 3: Conduct an Initial Assessment
Consider finding out what your students already know:


  • Administer the Semester Course Diagnostic Exam, to find topics that students might have learned elsewhere. This can help you make decisions about how much time to spend on each unit. You can find it by visiting the Semester Course page then clicking on Course Materials.

Step 4: Engage in Collaborative Learning
We know everyone’s teaching situation is unique. You might be teaching a block schedule and only see your students twice per week. Collaborating with other teachers that have a common situation is a great way to gain insight into how to approach planning for your circumstance:

  • Join FinLit Fanatics on Facebook and use the search feature on the top right of the page. Searching for “pacing” or “block schedule” will give you access to many discussion threads from over the years with useful information and insights from other teachers using NGPF’s curriculum 

Step 5: Layout Your Weekly Framework
With all of this research, begin crafting a plan:

  • Create a weekly calendar like this to lay out the entire semester in broad strokes. 
  • Make decisions within each unit. Do you need to cover all of the content in every lesson? Can individual lessons be trimmed? 
  • Check out the shorter Trimester Course version of the unit to see if that will be sufficient to meet your state’s standards
  • Dig into individual lesson guides and use the estimated time next to each resource to decide if a particular lesson will take one day or stretch over multiple days. Pay special attention to the length of the Do It activities which can vary in length from 10 minutes to more than 90 minutes.

  • When it comes time for assessment, use the Questions by Lesson table at the end of each unit test to customize your test to the lessons and content that you covered

Step 6: Reflect, Evaluate, and Adjust
As you progress through the semester, make adjustments. If school is closed due to a snow day or a unit gets done much faster than you anticipated, adjust your calendar and make notes for future semesters.


Crafting the perfect pacing guide is as much an art as it is a science. Every classroom, every semester, every group of students brings its own set of variables. The steps outlined above provide a roadmap, but it's your expertise and intuition that will make it truly effective. Rely on the feedback from your classroom, insights from fellow educators, and the requirements of your state standards to refine your approach. Good luck as you embark on another semester!

About the Author

Dave Martin

Dave joins NGPF with 15 years of teaching experience in math and computer science. After joining the New York City Teaching Fellows program and earning a Master's degree in Education from Pace University, his teaching career has taken him to New York, New Jersey and a summer in the north of Ghana. Dave firmly believes that financial literacy is vital to creating well-rounded students that are prepared for a complex and highly competitive world. During what free time two young daughters will allow, Dave enjoys video games, Dungeons & Dragons, cooking, gardening, and taking naps.

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