Numeracy: A Challenge for Adult Education

Resource URL:
M. Groenestun
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation: 
Mathematics Association of America
Mathematics, numeracy, remedial math
Number of Pages: 
Product Type: 
Target Audience: 
Local Program Administrators, Researchers, Teachers

Adult Educators are often confronted with adults who once learned mathematics in school but who have developed insufficient skills to use mathematics efficiently in real-life situations. This paper discusses the concept of numeracy and the way it was operationalized in the Adult Literacy and Lifeskills (ALL) survey to develop items for numeracy assessment. The second part is the author’s suggestions for implementation of numeracy in educational settings based on his own study of numeracy in adult basic education.

What the Experts Say: 

This report is a thorough description of the need for quantitative literacy (numeracy) as defined: 

“Numerate behavior involves managing a situation or solving
a problem in a real context by responding to mathematical
information that is represented in a range of ways and requires the
activation of a range of enabling processes and behaviors”

The report provides an explanation of all that the above definition implies for the adult student using math in real-life situations and gives suggestions for the teacher on how to develop and support this literacy. It is primarily an introduction. To be truly useful for teachers it would need specific strategies and possible lesson plans.

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