Black Hills State University student Alex Hochhalter, a professional accountancy major from Mott, N.D., won the college division of the spring trading session of the South Dakota Stock Market Game (SDSMG) with a final portfolio of $111,354.

The 10-week spring trading session of the SDSMG ended last month with nearly 500 students from 22 South Dakota schools participating. The schools formed more than 200 teams of stock market investors and received a hypothetical $100,000 to perform online investing in real-time stocks, bonds and mutual funds.

The program’s carefully integrated curriculum lets students experience the financial markets in the classroom as they learn about business, math, economics, personal finance and the importance of saving and investing for the long term, according to Don Altmyer, professor in the BHSU College of Business and Natural Sciences and coordinator of the SDSMG. Student teams compete for prizes in competitive divisions, he said.

The largest division this spring was the high school division with 173 teams from 17 high schools. The winner of the division was Brandon Valley High School.  They had the highest ending portfolio in the state at $ 126,357, an impressive return of 26 percent, considering that the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index only gained about 2 percent during this time.  Teacher Lana Main used the program in her personal finance classes, Altmyer said.

The winner of the middle school division was Belle Fourche Middle School.  Teacher Kristy Messner used the program in her eighth grade math classes.

Altmyer said the program has been a great way to engage students of all ages.

“Once the teachers try it and see the (positive) reaction from their students, they usually come back,” he said. “The teachers say how motivated their students are to come to class.”

Although the students are working with cyber dollars, they pick their portfolios and watch what happens. They really become invested in watching the market, he said.

The BHSU Center for Economic Education has an exclusive license to operate the program in South Dakota with the Securities Industry Financial Markets Association (SIFMA).  The SMG program is consistently identified as the leader in youth financial education and the only program proven in rigorous, independent studies year-after-year to raise math and financial literacy test scores and to change financial behavior for the better for students and teachers.  More than 600,000 students from all 50 states participate each year.  The SMG program includes InvestWrite, a national essay competition that is the culminating SMG activity. Students are challenged to think critically about real-world financial issues by preparing essays about long-term saving and investing. Winners receive a paid trip to New York City and a visit to the New York Stock Exchange. 

The South Dakota Stock Market Game is sponsored by the BHSU Center for Economic Education, the Securities Industry Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) and the South Dakota Council on Economic Education. The BHSU Center for Economic Education is affiliated with the National Council on Economic Education and provides economic and personal finance programs for South Dakota middle school, high school and college students.  The South Dakota Council on Economic Education oversees two Centers for Economic Education in the state: Black Hills State University in Spearfish, SD and the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD.

The fall 2013 SDSMG session starts Monday, Oct. 7.  Registration begins Aug. 1.   To register, go to http://www.stockmarketgame.orgFor more information contact Professor Don Altmyer at Don.Altmyer@BHSU.edu