65,000 Australian students to sit national financial literacy assessment

3 August 2006

In a major boost to understanding Australian youth financial literacy, applications to sit the Australian Financial Literacy Assessment (AFLA) 2006 have closed with 65,000 students registered to participate - up 50 per cent from last year’s assessment.

Now in its second year, AFLA is a national assessment conducted by the Commonwealth Bank Foundation through Educational Assessment Australia, part of the University of New South Wales.

"The aim of AFLA is to provide a comprehensive overview of the financial capabilities of Australian students in years 9 and 10 which, in turn, will help identify areas for improvement," said Ralph Norris, Commonwealth Bank Foundation Chairman and CEO of the Commonwealth Bank.

"Judging by the massive response from Australian schools and students to participate in this year’s assessment, there is a keen desire by young Australians to understand where they might need to improve their money management skills," said Mr Norris.

Students across all states and territories will participate in the one-hour assessment which includes 45 multiple choice and short answer questions.

Last year’s AFLA Assessment Report uncovered some alarming findings including:

  • Around 50% of all respondents could not interpret a bank statement;
  • Some 15% to 20% of students could not calculate how to withdraw required sums of money from an ATM,
  • Around 15% of both years 9 and 10 could not understand the cost implications of entering an SMS competition.

"Last year’s AFLA revealed that whilst our youth are seasoned consumers, they have only moderate financial understanding and competence. Given that many in this age group are about to join the workforce, start to rent, prepare for higher education, have their own mobile phone or buy their first car – it is important that we help them improve their money management and financial skills."

Students will sit the assessment nationally on Tuesday 15 August.


For more information contact:

Bryan Fitzgerald
General Manager, Media and Issues Management
Commonwealth Bank
Phone: (02) 9378 2663
Mob: 0414 789 649
Email: fitzgeb@cba.com.au


Notes to Editors

About the Commonwealth Bank Foundation

The Commonwealth Bank Foundation is a visionary leader in the area of financial literacy and is working to tackle the issues that have arisen from AFLA. It is capitalised with a $70 million contribution from the Bank. The income stream from this capital supports the Foundation's activities.

As a key part of the assessment program the Foundation has established an online resource for all schools. The Commonwealth Bank Foundation’s Financial Literacy Curriculum Resource provides teachers with the opportunity to address specific weaknesses and strengths in their students’ learning with tailored teaching tools.

This is in addition to the comprehensive education sector programs such as e-Learning Grants for primary students and Financial Literacy Grants for high school students, which the Foundation has put in place in partnership with education groups, authorities and teaching associations across Australia.