Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Eliesh Lane


Financial literacy education continues to be a deficiency in the U.S. education system because it is not included in most school curricula, and little is known about the efficacy of the school district programs that do include it. A former Federal Reserve Chairman identified the lack of financial literacy as a national problem, and the National Financial Educators Council described it as the #1 problem in the current generation. Using Berger and Luckmann's conceptualization of social construction as the theoretical framework, the purpose of this study was to explore how access to financial literacy education is perceived by fifth- through eighth-grade students in terms of behavior modification. The research questions focused on participants' understanding of financial concepts as it relates to grade level, gender, and school type. A qualitative multiple-case case study design, bounded in a single school district, was employed using stratified purposeful sampling through face-to-face interviews with only fifth- and eighth-grade students attending public, private, and charter schools. Data collected were coded and categorized for thematic analysis through constant comparison. The social construction framework served as an interpretive framework and helped capture the shared meaning in the key findings revealed through 5 core themes and 19 sub themes, with the highest emphasis on the core themes of Concepts of Earnings and Using Financial Institutions. The positive social change implications stemming from this study include recommendations to local/state/national education officials to develop and teach financial literacy curricula in order to increase the understanding and change financial behavior, throughout the United States, beginning with America's youth, and all future generations.