Australia above OECD average in financial literacy test

Australia has done well in the OECD PISA financial literacy test, which is an international literacy test for young people. Australia ranks equal fifth out of the 15 participating economies. 

The OECD released the study as part of its Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2015 to evaluate the financial literacy of 15-year-olds from 15 countries. ASIC's deputy chair, Peter Kell, said that while Australia performed well, there is still work to be done. We compare well, he said, with 15 per cent of our students high performers (above the OECD average of 12 per cent). Problematically, 20 per cent of our students were low performers, which is still better than the average of 22 per cent in OECD countries, it means work still needs to be done. 

In the study, financial literacy is defined as:

'Knowledge and understanding of financial concepts and risks, and the skills, motivation and confidence to apply such knowledge and understanding in order to make effective decisions across a range of financial contexts, to improve the financial well-being of individuals and society, and to enable participation in economic life.

The study participants included Australia, the Flemish community of Belgium, seven provinces of Canada, Chile, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, the Slovak Republic, Spain, and the United States. The five partner countries and economies include Brazil, four provinces of China, Lithuania, Peru and the Russian Federation. 

About 53,000 students participated, with 14,500 of those from Australia. Key findings from Australia's performance include: 

  • Australian students achieved an aggregate score significantly higher than the OECD average (504 compared to 489)
  • Australian girls performed significantly higher than Australian boys (510 for girls compared with 498 for boys)
  • The mean financial literacy score for Indigenous students was 411 points
  • Socioeconomic background accounts for the 12 per cent variance in Australian scores, higher than the OECD average of 10 per cent

Read in full PISA 2015 Assessment and Analytical Framework