Journal of Research and Practice for Adult Literacy, Secondary, and Basic Education, Vol. 6, No. 1, Spring 2017

A special issue of the Journal of Research and Practice for Adult Literacy, Secondary and Basic Education devoted to numeracy.

Author(s) Organizational Affiliation
The Coalition on Adult Basic Education
Rutgers University
Publication Year
Resource Type
Number of Pages

This special numeracy issue of the Journal of Research and Practice for Adult Literacy, Secondary and Basic Education was guest edited by Dr. Lynda Ginsburg, Senior Researcher at Rutgers University’s Center for Mathematics, Science, and Computer Education. The articles are organized into 5 sections.


“Evaluating Number Sense in Community College Developmental Math Students” – Dorothea Steinke identifies some of the problems with developmental math and ways to improve student outcomes in these community college courses. Steinke used a practioner-developed instrument to identify students’ lack of knowledge of specific numeracy components.

“The Case for Measuring Adults’ Numeracy Practices” – Diana Coben and Anne Alkema, both from New Zealand, discuss their efforts to develop a numeracy practices measure and they place the need for such a measure within the broader literature on numeracy for adults.

Practitioner Perspective

“Problem Posing and Problem Solving in a Math Teacher's Circle” – Eric Appleton, Solange Farina, Tyler Holzer, Usha Kotelawala, and Mark Trushkowsky describe a professional development approach employed by community college instructors in New York City. It is designed by the participants, allowing them to find answers to their own pressing problems.

“Stepping Over the Line: Applying the Theories of Adult Learning in a GED Math Class” – Lisa Bates discusses her efforts to incorporate adult development theory into her GED math classes.

“Standards and Professional Development” – Cynthia Zengler discusses the ways that the state of Ohio has tried to incorporate the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the College Readiness (CCR) Standards into its numeracy professional development efforts. 


“What’s an Adult Numeracy Teacher to Teach? Negotiating the Complexity of Adult Numeracy Instruction” – Lynda Ginsburg lays out the dilemmas associated with the sometimes conflicting need to improve numeracy education for adults while also adhering to state and federal requirements.

“Where to Focus so Students Become College and Career Ready?” –  Donna Curry continues Ginsburg’s discussion but focuses on students, instead of teachers. She describes the challenge of providing the basic frameworks necessary for students to advance and still meet all of the many external requirements.

“Time Well Spent: Making Choices and Setting Priorities” – Melissa Braaten continues the discussion, asking how teachers should decide what to teach given all of the demands they face.

Resource Review

Nicole Taylor reviews No Small Lives: Handbook of North American Early Women Adult Educators, 1925-1950, edited by Susan Imel and Gretchen T. Bersch. The book is an historical examination of the roles that women have played in the development of the field of adult education.

Web Scan

Dr. David J. Rosen, focuses on numeracy and math websites providing important information for instructors as they try to identify websites to aid them in the teaching of mathematics.

What the experts say

There are innumerable uses of this issue of the COABE Journal of Research and Practice – as a guide to successful professional development initiatives, as a resource, and as a foundation for reflection on where numeracy instruction has been, and where it is going. It should be high on the list of resources for instructors and program administrators to read and reflect upon. As a journal of research and practice in adult education, this issue is particularly successful in its discussion of many aspects of adult numeracy instruction.

This issue on numeracy is a wonderful resource for any math practitioner. It serves as a piece to use when conducting professional development, looking for new perspectives or support, or even new curriculum ideas. The issue is packed full of research, effective practices, and new instructional strategies.

This resource could be used as part of a study circle for math practitioners. Individuals could use this to enhance their teaching and understanding of adult learning. While all the items are valuable, practitioners might value the information from their peers in order to learn and grow from their experiences, and be encouraged to try new techniques or strategies.

Resource Notice

This site includes links to information created by other public and private organizations. These links are provided for the user’s convenience. The U.S. Department of Education does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of this non-ED information. The inclusion of these links is not intended to reflect their importance, nor is it intended to endorse views expressed, or products or services offered, on these non-ED sites.

Please note that privacy policies on non-ED sites may differ from ED’s privacy policy. When you visit, no personal information is collected unless you choose to provide that information to us. We do not give, share, sell, or transfer any personal information to a third party. We recommend that you read the privacy policy of non-ED websites that you visit. We invite you to read our privacy policy.