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May 02 2011

Operation HOPE Banking on Our Future Program Assessment Reveals Remarkable Improvement in Financial Literacy Knowledge and Dignity in American Students

Results provide educators and policymakers with the need and connection between financial dignity and financial literacy acumen

Los Angeles – May 2, 2011– Financial literacy empowerment nonprofit Operation HOPE, Inc. (HOPE) announced the findings of the Banking on Our Future (BOOF) Learning Assessment administered in the fourth quarter of 2010 through their new Office of Innovation, Research and Assessment. The Office is responsible for measuring success of the HOPE portfolios as well as establishing benchmarking baselines for financial literacy. The office’s Director, Jennifer Thibeaux remarked, “this quarter’s findings signals the rebirth of innovation and assessment strategies for the Banking on Our Future program and provides benchmarking information and a glimpse into the financial literacy learning capacity of youth when an innovative intervention is applied.” The leading reason for the measurement and analysis is to understand the severity of the financial disconnect in youth as well as to understand the impact of an aggressive intervention.

HOPE continually educates and measures youth understanding and learning progress in financial literacy and dignity. Key financial literacy questions included on the assessment are Financial Esteem; Connecting Responsible Finances & Dignity; Importance of Money; Origin of Money and an understanding the Earning Money Process; Equation of Earning Money; Definition of a Budget and the Outcome of Budgeting; Keeping money safe and the benefits of a Savings Account; Credit Rating Structure; and Good Investment Strategies. The findings will aid policymakers and educators in understanding the value of financial literacy education and help them pinpoint where improvements are needed and where future initiatives should be targeted.

Distributing the assessment as a random convenience sample to over 1500 students across the United States, youth grades 4-12 were assessed. Benchmark findings of the assessment administered prior to the intervention revealed a major disconnect between dignity and financial literacy and rights particularly within the elementary school youth. Additionally, both elementary and high school youth failed to understand the origins of money, budgeting, and the credit system in the pre-assessment phase. Findings and analysis revealed the following:

Concepts the Least Understood by youth in the Pre-Assessment Phase:

  • Concepts of Credit: 83% Elementary and 35% High School youth failed
  • Budgeting: 78% Elementary and 21% High School youth failed
  • Saving: 74% Elementary and 41% High School youth failed
  • Equation of Earning Money: 69% Elementary and 54% High School youth failed


Hopeful results were measured once the BOOF program was administered. The Post-Assessment improvement in the same key areas were as follows (represented in a % improvement of correct responses):

  • Concepts of Credit: 48% Elementary and 47% High School youth positive improvement
  • Budgeting: 57% Elementary and 13% High School youth positive improvement
  • Saving: 33% Elementary and 11% High School youth positive improvement
  • Equation of Earning Money: 15% Elementary and 14% High School youth positive improvement

The fourth Quarter 2010 results revealed two very important concepts – youth desperately need an educational foundation for understanding money matters; and a knowledge intervention such as the BOOF program which involves community leaders offers opportunities for dramatic improvements in major areas of financial literacy and dignity. HOPE will continue to measure youth benchmarks in financial literacy and the improvements achieved based on a variety of interventions such as the BOOF 2011 first quarter results are currently being analyzed.

The full summary of findings is below:

 

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HOPE Office of Innovation, Research & Assessment   
The Office of Innovation Research and Assessment was established to track the success of current programs, contribute to the development of the new Gallup-HOPE Financial Literacy Index and analyze the impact of HOPE programs and services on youth, adults and the community at large. The office will also establish a benchmark for innovation within HOPE itself.

About Operation HOPE
Founded in 1992, social empowerment nonprofit Operation HOPE's mission is to expand economic opportunity in under-resourced communities through financial literacy education. HOPE promotes "silver rights" - making free enterprise and capitalism relevant and effective for the underserved. Raising more than $500 million and directing and restructuring nearly $500 million more in mortgages and economic support from the private sector, for a total of approximately $1 billion dollars in economic activity, HOPE seeks dignity and empowerment for all. Follow Operation HOPE at www.operationhope.org, www.twitter.com/operationhope, and www.facebook.com/operationhope.