Students and Families

What Economic Concepts Do Students Need to Learn?

The following 20 concepts have been identified as crucial for students to learn by the time they graduate from high school.  They are an integral part of the National Voluntary Content Standards in Economics, developed by the National Council on Economic Education

The Significant Seven

The first seven concepts, the Significant Seven, can be learned in the early years of elementary school.

  • Goods and Services
  • Productive Resources (Factors of Production)
  • Scarcity
  • Opportunity Cost
  • Specialization (and Division of Labor)
  • Exchange (Benefits of Trade)
  • Interdependence

The Terrific Twelve

The concepts in The Terrific Twelve are geared towards students in grades 1-8.

  • The Significant Seven plus;
  • Economic Systems (including Circular Flow Model)
  • Productivity
  • Price (Supply and Demand) 
  • Money
  • Profit (Entrepreneurship and Risk)      

The Fabulous Fifteen

The Fabulous Fifteen and The Tremendous Twenty are taught in high school when students continue their study of economics.

  • The Terrific Twelve plus:
  • Government and Taxes
  • "Spillovers" and the Environment
  • Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

The Tremendous Twenty

  • The Fabulous Fifteen plus:
  • Monetary Policy 
  • Inflation 
  • Fiscal Policy 
  • Comparative Advantage and International Trade \
  • Exchange Rates