Game of Real Life  2007-2011 Case Study

The Game of Real Life is a comprehensive intervention program created by Lorraine and Ken Decker with the broad objective of transforming the lives of economically disadvantaged teens through financial education and practiced decision-making.  The program consists of two parts.  First, students participate in a rigorous classroom curriculum that introduces financial and economic concepts, promotes career discovery, assesses career interests, and teaches the foundations of college selection, funding and completion.  In the final 24 hours of the class, the students compete for jobs, and then work, pay bills, and make age appropriate decisions.

The second component is a 2-day reality simulation game in which students interview for “jobs”, “train” with business and community volunteers, and then “age” from 19 to 26.  During the passage of the game, students work, pay bills, file tax returns, complete financial statements, fund college, buy homes, cars, insurance and manage life events.

In pilot year 2007, the authors were focused primarily on developing a course that would appeal to and be highly effective academically for underserved teens.  In 2009, team building, problem solving, critical thinking and ethical decision making skills were integrated into the core course materials.  In 2011 and 2012, clips from YouTube and TED Talks featuring industry and subject matter experts were incorporated in the instructional curriculum.

Major outcomes of the GAME were 100% of the students who successfully completed the GAME graduated from high school and 98% have entered college.

The data presented in the Case Study report was accumulated by staff and volunteers and provided by schools, students, and parents via phone, email, or social media contact.  No individual was paid to provide the information other than normal compensation for staff.  For a PDF copy of the complete report, click HERE.