Are We Making the Grade? A National Overview of Financial Education and Program Evaluation

Authors

  • ANGELA C. LYONS,

    1. 1 Angela C. Lyons is an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL (anglyons@uiuc.edu). 2Lance Palmer is an assistant professor in the Department of Housing and Consumer Economics at the University of Georgia, Athens, GA (lpalmer@uga.edu). 3Koralalage S.U. Jayaratne is an evaluation specialist in Cooperative Extension Family and Consumer Sciences at the University of Georgia, Athens, GA (sunil@uga.edu). 4Erik Scherpf is a research associate in the Department of Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL (scherpf@uiuc.edu).
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  • 1 LANCE PALMER,

    1. 1 Angela C. Lyons is an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL (anglyons@uiuc.edu). 2Lance Palmer is an assistant professor in the Department of Housing and Consumer Economics at the University of Georgia, Athens, GA (lpalmer@uga.edu). 3Koralalage S.U. Jayaratne is an evaluation specialist in Cooperative Extension Family and Consumer Sciences at the University of Georgia, Athens, GA (sunil@uga.edu). 4Erik Scherpf is a research associate in the Department of Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL (scherpf@uiuc.edu).
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  • 2 KORALALAGE S. U. JAYARATNE,

    1. 1 Angela C. Lyons is an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL (anglyons@uiuc.edu). 2Lance Palmer is an assistant professor in the Department of Housing and Consumer Economics at the University of Georgia, Athens, GA (lpalmer@uga.edu). 3Koralalage S.U. Jayaratne is an evaluation specialist in Cooperative Extension Family and Consumer Sciences at the University of Georgia, Athens, GA (sunil@uga.edu). 4Erik Scherpf is a research associate in the Department of Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL (scherpf@uiuc.edu).
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  • and 3 ERIK SCHERPF 4

    1. 1 Angela C. Lyons is an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL (anglyons@uiuc.edu). 2Lance Palmer is an assistant professor in the Department of Housing and Consumer Economics at the University of Georgia, Athens, GA (lpalmer@uga.edu). 3Koralalage S.U. Jayaratne is an evaluation specialist in Cooperative Extension Family and Consumer Sciences at the University of Georgia, Athens, GA (sunil@uga.edu). 4Erik Scherpf is a research associate in the Department of Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL (scherpf@uiuc.edu).
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  • This project was funded by the National Endowment for Financial Education® Grant Project #001-10-2003.

  • All views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not reflect the views or policies of the National Endowment for Financial Education®.

Abstract

Many financial education providers still do not have a basic level of evaluation capacity and are unable to identify program outcomes and design effective evaluation instruments. It is difficult to propose a national evaluation strategy without a basic understanding of current evaluation capacity and of the critical gaps in program evaluation. In addition, there has been little discussion about the challenges facing financial professionals and educators who are on the “front lines” delivering and evaluating programs. The purpose of this survey article is to address these critical gaps in the literature and to provide an overview of the current state of financial education and program evaluation. Using qualitative and quantitative data collected from financial professionals and educators nationwide, this study provides insight into what can be done to build national evaluation capacity and conduct more effective program evaluations.

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