Feb 18, 2016

NGPF Podcast: David Anderson of w!SE: Assessing What America's High School Students Know About Money

Thanks to David Anderson, Executive Vice-President at w!SE (Working in Support of Education) for joining me recently on the NGPF podcast show. David joined w!SE in 2007. He oversees w!se’s national financial literacy programs and, with the President, for partnerships, development and marketing. He previously had a career on Wall Street.

W!SE is a leading educational not-for-profit. At the heart of its offerings is a family of financial literacy certification initiatives:

  • The Financial Literacy Certification program helps high school students acquire essential personal finance knowledge and skills;
  • The Certification in Personal Finance strengthens educators’ credentials to teach personal finance; and
  • MoneyW!SE provides a pathway for survivors of domestic violence to become financially independent.

These initiatives differ in scope and target audience, but all share a common thread – an end-of-program, standardized assessment of personal financial knowledge and a certification for those who master the subject matter.

Each year, w!SE publishes the 100 Best w!se High Schools Teaching Personal Finance to honor schools of excellence in personal finance education across its national network. Separately, w!se also recognizes teachers (Gold Star teachers) and schools (Blue Star schools) based on student performance on its Certification Test.

Listen to this podcast to hear David answer such questions as:

  • What is the process for schools to sign-up with w!SE? What programs and resources are included?
  • What personal finance topics are most challenging for students to master? for teachers to teach?
  • In addition to their assessment tool, how else does w!SE measure the impact of their personal finance work?
  • What does it take to become a “Blue Ribbon” school?


0:00~0:52 – Introduction
0:52~4:24 – David’s Background
4:24~5:23 – Managing a non-profit
5:23~8:00 – What programs does w!SE offer?
8:00~9:10 – How can schools/teachers sign up for the w!SE program?
9:10~11:27 – How much does the w!SE program cost?
11:27~15:48 – How does the w!SE assessment map to national and state standards?
15:48~21:07 – Based on your assessment results, what are most challenging topics for students to master?
21:07~24:47 – For “Blue Ribbon” schools, what are the ingredients for success?
24:47~28:13 – What behavioral trends are you measuring in addition to your standardized test?
28:13~33:54 – How can we improve financial education in the United States?
33:54~34:55 – What are topics that teachers find challenging to teach?
34:55~36:54 – What does the future hold for w!SE?

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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