How many junior high students, when given $100,000 will invest in the stock market and earn over 6 percent in profits? How many junior high students are even familiar with the stock market? That is exactly what the Stock Market Game, a national program created by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, is designed to address.
This year, La Mesa Junior High School students placed first and third in the Stock Market Game for the fall semester (September through December). The first-place team members were Alejandro Hernandez, Ryan Valencia, Chris Rodriguez and Zulema Mejicano, who made a profit of 6.1781 percent. Marisela Sanchez worked alone on the third place team and made a profit of 3.7429 percent.
Each team starts with basic “funds,” $100,000 in a brokerage account and must invest it in various stocks and mutual funds. Students track their investments using Math, English, Science and Social Studies skills, creating research portfolios using graphs and spreadsheets, as well as doing research papers on their companies.
Geoffrey Aronsky, the Business Education Teacher at La Mesa, has successfully run the Stock Market Game for the last nine years. He has also been named California’s Business Educator of the Year in 2008-2009 by the California Business Education Association.
Through the Stock Market Game, SIFMA Foundation hopes to foster knowledge and understanding of the financial markets and real life situations.
In August 2009, Learning Point Associates, a leading educational research firm, completed a two-year study funded by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority to test the efficacy of the SMG program. The findings showed that SMG substantially improves student math scores on standardized tests and improves student investor knowledge. The study also showed that teachers were more likely to engage in financial planning practices as a result of teaching SMG.
Additionally, the first Nation’s Report Card on Economics, released in 2007, found that students participating in a stock market game scored significantly higher on standardized tests than students who had not participated.
In six consecutive reports over a 12-year period, the biannual survey by the Jump$tart Coalition for Financial Literacy also found that students that participated in a stock market game score higher on the Jump$tart financial literacy survey than students that did not participate.
The winning students from La Mesa will be honored in May at a luncheon sponsored by the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.