Students and Families

What Economic Concepts Do Students Need to Learn?

20 concepts have been identified as crucial for students to learn by the time they graduate from high school. The first seven, the Significant Seven, can be learned at very early grades. These concepts are an integral part of the National Voluntary Content Standards in Economics, developed by the National Council on Economic Education.

The Campaign for Economic Literacy: Literacy Test

Test your knowledge of basic economics. The questions in this online test were used in the Standards of Economics Survey.

The Significant Seven

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

The Fabulous Fifteen

  • 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