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Facing the Challenge of Numeracy in Adult Education

This report explains what "numeracy" is and why we need it, and makes the case for shifting from the current emphasis on traditional math instruction in adult education to instruction in a more comprehensive set of math skills.
Author(s): 
Forrest P. Chisman
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation: 
Council for Advancement of Adult Literacy
Published: 
2011
Resource Type: 
Research
Number of Pages: 
39
Abstract: 

Facing the Challenge of Numeracy in Adult Education report makes a strong case for shifting from the current emphasis on traditional math instruction in adult education to instruction in a more comprehensive set of "numeracy" skills.  It urges that despite current state and national economic constraints, we get started down the numeracy path without further ado.  One major area of focus in the report is the articulation problems that exist between ABE preparation for the GED and between the GED and college placement based on COMPASS).  Another is the paucity of math instruction for adult ESL students with low levels of prior education.  The report offers an array of suggestions to reform adult education math in a number of areas including curriculum design, measures of assessment, and teacher training and recruitment.  It urges the Office of Vocational and Adult Education of the U.S. Department of Education to take the leadership role.

What the Experts Say: 

The study done by CAAL is a must read for anyone involved in mathematics education for adult education. This document clearly presents a solid case of why traditional math instruction must change, the impacts this change will have on students, teachers, professional development and funding.  While the authors do not provide all the answers, they raise issues of concern that will need to be addressed to change the paradigm that presently exists in adult education math instruction.

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