Are you bad at math? I’ve just read a recent report that calls for an end to being bad at maths being seen as a “badge of honor”. Some people seem to be proud of their lack of number skills.
When I went to visit a prospective school for my daughter, we spoke to a teacher who asked a child what their least favorite subject was. She replied ‘math’ and the teacher seemed proud to agree that she was never very good at math at school!
No one would dream of boasting that they couldn’t read, but many people stand on platforms, write in blogs, appear on radio and television TV, admit to friends and colleagues, proudly showcasing our inability to handle everyday maths. People who reach adulthood with poor numeracy skills are more than twice as likely to be unemployed, far less likely to receive work-related training, get a promotion or receive a wage increase,
If poor numeracy skills are to be tackled. The UK report on Adult Numeracy makes 7 recommendations and is worth a look if you’re involved in math education at any level. The report said to improve adult numeracy, we need…
1. …to change the way we think about adult numeracy.
Adult numeracy should not be thought about solely in terms of the math that is taught in school. We recommend the Government adopt a new approach to numeracy that focuses on how adults use it in everyday life and that is how it should be taught. Poor numeracy skills should not be seen as a badge of honour.
2. …a new measure of how well adults use numeracy.
We recommend a new way of measuring how well adults use numeracy everyday – for example how they manage bills, make decisions about credit and estimate time.
3. …more, different and better adult numeracy provision.
We recommend that numeracy provision should be available through a wider range of organisations – including workplaces and community groups and not only from education providers – to encourage more flexible numeracy learning through bite-sized and informal provision. This should include embedding numeracy with vocational, family and other learning.
4. …more numeracy teachers and a new group of people to support adult numeracy learning.
We recommend that as well as more adult numeracy teachers being trained we need more numeracy champions, including family support workers, learning reps and job centre staff, to signpost and support learners.
5. …to prioritise adults with the poorest numeracy skills.
Helping adults with poor literacy and numeracy skills is a top priority for this Government and we are committed to offering fully funded literacy and numeracy courses for all those who left school without these basic skills. The Government is currently reviewing the quality of literacy and numeracy skills provision and examining how it equips individuals with the skills they need to get a job and play a full part in society.
6. …an ‘all-age’ strategic forum for key organisations and government to work together to improve adult numeracy learning.
We recommend that the Government bring together a range of organisations to research, develop and improve numeracy.
7. …more in-depth research to ensure we know what works best for adult numeracy learners.
We recommend the Government and appropriate partners should continue to research and evaluate adult numeracy provision to chart progress on what works best for adults.