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  - Written Instructions
Frequently Asked Questions

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  Q: How long has the Invest Ed® STARS program been in existence?
  A: The STARS program began in July of 2005.
  Q: What is the STARS project?
  A: STARS is a hands-on financial planning and fraud awareness education program for students grades 9-12. The STARS project teaches students to research investments, assess risk, set goals, and create and track online stock portfolios. The project is designed as a curriculum supplement and can be implemented in all subject matter areas or within student organizations.
  Q: Why is investment education an important topic for high school students?
  A: Time is essential when investing. To have a secure financial future, most Americans will need to participate in the financial markets. High school students have the advantage of time when it comes to investing. Educating high school students now is essential to their future financial security.
  Q: How much does it cost?
  A: The program is FREE. The Oklahoma Department of Securities offers free teacher training and support to the STARS teachers.
  Q: How does this program differ from other online stock programs?
  A: STARS students are taught financial, investment, and fraud awareness in the program. The students learn how to research investments, assess risk, set investment goals, and create and track an online stock portfolio. The STARS program’s focus is on investing for the long term.
  Q: I don’t know anything about the stock market. How can I be expected to implement this program?
  A: TEACHERS ARE FACILITATORS. Teachers are not expected to be subject-matter experts. STARS provides free training for teachers that will enable the teacher to effectively facilitate the instruction of the STARS project. In addition, the STARS support staff is readily accessible and eager to help.
  Q: Can I implement STARS even if I have not been trained?
  A: To implement the STARS project you must fully complete a free STARS teacher training. These trainings are offered each semester and publicized on the website.
  Q: Do I have to live in the specific region to attend a One-Day Workshop?
  A: No, teachers may attend any workshop date/location. Trained teachers may attend a one-day workshop as often as they wish to refresh.
  Q: Can I implement STARS with my 7th and 8th graders?
  A: The STARS program is for students in grades 9-12. If you teach a ‘combined’ course, let the 7-8 graders participate unofficially. They are not eligible to be a report winner. Do not report them as participating students on the form you submit (our official count); and do not submit their reports.
* EXCEPTION: If 7th and 8th graders are receiving high school credit for the course, then they may participate officially.
  Q: I teach in a Technology Center, so I have both high school and adult students. May my adult students participate?
  A: Officially no which means they are not eligible to be a report winner. Absolutely let them participate unofficially. Do not report them as participating students on the form you submit (our official count); and do not submit their reports.
  Q: Are all students in my class (or classes) required to participate?
  A: Teachers may require students to participate, or they may make it optional. Teachers may allow students to participate on an independent study plan. Teachers may implement the project in their courses or in organizations they sponsor, or both.
  Q: I teach (fill in the blank) course/s or (fill in the blank) academic level. May my students participate?
  A: We have students at all academic levels and in a diverse range of courses. Our goal is to offer this life-changing opportunity to as many students in grades 9-12 as possible. ALL students can benefit from this information, and ALL students deserve to be made aware of this information. No course or academic level is excluded. If a student has or is going to have a source of income, that student needs to learn how to manage and to protect that money.
  Q: Does Invest Ed® provide investment advice or counseling.
  A: NO. The STARS program is a learning process intended for classroom use and then only to make students and teachers aware of the benefits and risks of savings and investing. We do not recommend any particular investment strategy or plan or value any type of product or securities professional over another. No part of the STARS program is to be taken as investment advice.
  Q: Are pre- and post-surveys required?
  A: Pre- and post-surveys are optional. Teachers may access surveys on the Trained Teachers page on our site. There is also a link on the Student Resources Page. Student pre- and post-surveys are identical.
  Q: How do you introduce this program to the class?
  A: There are several good ways to introduce this program. One way is to show a securities fraud documentary video provided by Invest Ed® to participating teachers. Some teachers have their students list products they use on a regular basis and research those companies. You can have students list all the companies they encounter during a day and research those companies. Another option is to use the financial calculator (teachers experience this at training) to compute time value of money—focus on goals. Teaching opportunity cost (problems provided) is a great way to start. Teachers may use tutorials from various sites provided. Invest Ed® provides numerous resources to teachers with ideas and lesson plan options to help implement the program into any curriculum.
  Q: How much class time should be spent on the program?
  A: The amount of class time utilized by this project is flexible. It varies from teacher to teacher and curriculum to curriculum. Each teacher is provided a timeframe including due dates. At the beginning teachers may spend a few class periods explaining the program, viewing a fraud video, showing students how to research, discussing risk and completing a risk assessment, and setting goals. Once the students create a portfolio, the program pretty much runs itself; students may track portfolios in class or out of class, or both. Teachers are facilitators.
  Q: Where is the best place to research – to get started?
  A: Resources provided by Invest Ed® include lists of Websites as well as other optional resources. At the teacher training, teachers practice research tips.
  Q: Where can I get a copy of (any) form?
  A: Check the Trained Teachers page and also the Student Resources page.
  Q: Can you lose money and still compete for the report monetary awards?
  A: Yes. Report competition is not decided by the portfolio’s gain or loss but by the amount of knowledge gained through the process, as expressed in the written report.
  Q: Do we have to buy or sell throughout the program?
  A: No. Students may choose to stick with their initial choices and see how the investments perform. Students may buy or sell during the process.
  Q: $500,000 is unrealistic; why do students have so much money to invest?
  A: After the first semester of the STARS program, teachers were polled regarding the $500,000. Before the semester started, teachers thought the amount was too high. At the end of the semester, teachers requested the amount remain unchanged because… If the amount were smaller, students would experience ups and downs, but they would be just minor repercussions. With $500,000 invested, students experience a major jolt—an impact. The amount remains unchanged based on teacher feedback. It is an over-exaggeration to make a point.
  Q: Do students have to spend all of the $500,000?
  A: It is recommended they spend at least 80% initially. This allows them extra $$ to purchase additional stock as the program progresses. They are expected to invest most of their virtual money.
  Q: May students buy foreign stocks?
  A: Yes
  Q: May students buy mutual funds?
  A: Yes
  Q: May students buy ETFs?
  A: Yes
  Q: Can we buy/sell before Printout 1?
  A: The first printout is immediately after creating the portfolio; dates are on the timeframe handout. Additional purchases or sells are made after the tracking process begins. However, if a mistake was made during the initial purchases, it can be edited prior to printing. Refer to Portfolio instructions located on the Trained Teachers page.
  Q: Can students access their portfolios outside of school?
  A: Yes, students create a Morningstar portfolio, so they may access their portfolios from any device with Internet access.
  Q: Tracking Log: The directions say “Initial the date you check your Portfolio. If the Value and Gain columns are UP, initial in the plus column. If the columns are DOWN, initial in the minus column.” Please explain.
  A: Teachers have two choices: (1) use the overall portfolio’s gain or loss, or (1) use one tracking log per stock. Students may initial in the plus or minus column on that date or write the $ or % up or down. The purpose of this log is to verify students are checking their portfolios. It is submitted to the teacher only. Trust us; students are going to check their portfolios often.
  Q: What printouts do I send you?
  A: Students submit forms to teachers. Teachers do not submit any forms to staff during implementation. Refer to the Report Requirements document on the Trained Teachers page.
  Q: How many reports do I send?
  A: Teachers submit the top two reports per class.
  Q: Are sample reports available?
  A: Yes, all previous $1,000 winning reports are available for viewing at | STARS link | Awards page (bottom of page).
  Q: Does report material have to be in a specific order?
  A: Yes, submit (1) Cover Page, (2) report body, (3) Work Cited separate page, and (4) two report printouts; printout due dates are on timeframe. Refer to the Report Requirements document on the Trained Teachers page.
Financial Calculator
  Q: Do options exist for the financial calculator?
  A: Yes. An app is available from TI for your phone. The TI 84 graphing calculator has a finance application similar to the financial calculator, per math teacher feedback. Teachers teaching Excel may choose to use a function. Of course, you can search online and find numerous financial calculators for a wide variety of purposes. Remember, the financial calculator is optional.
  Q: Where can I find practice problems for the financial calculator?
  A: Invest Ed® provides several practice problems as well as a working list of online resources with additional instructional practices and lesson plans at workshops and teacher institutes.
  Q: Where can I get a financial calculator and emulator?
  A: Effective 2010 Texas Instruments no longer provides free financial calculators and emulators to high school teachers. At this time, Texas Instruments is not selling emulators. The financial calculator may be purchased at most retail or discount stores for approximately $55 or less. The BA II Plus Professional costs more than the BA II Plus. The BA II Plus does everything this project needs, and more.
  Q: Is there a TI BA II Plus calculator troubleshooting source?
  A: 1-800-TI CARES
- Also, at this link is a Support tab with contact info. Under the Downloads tab is a Guidebook. Additionally, this site has a BAII Plus App, but it is not free.
  Q: Where can I access the current project timeframe forms?
  A: All resources are located on the Trained Teachers page on our site.
  Q: How do I get a copy of the fraud video?
  A: At the Documentaries tab on our site, the fraud videos are available for free, no access code required.

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