Numeracy is an enabling skill for life and work. Innumeracy, like illiteracy, is a social burden. Poor numeracy means that everyday tasks pose difficulty (e.g., calculating change, determining the percentage discount). Poor numeracy reduces access to further study, particularly in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; in turn impacting Australia’s international competitive advantage and its workforce (DETYA, 2007). Educational standards on a global scale are measured predominantly in relation to literacy and numeracy scores. Recent national and international measures of numeracy (mathematical literacy) show that Australia cannot be complacent about students’ numeracy at any year level of schooling, with Australia’s mathematical literacy skills declining on the Program for International Schooling Assessment (PISA) (Masters, 2007).
Drawing on the rich model of numeracy previously developed by the research team (Geiger, Dole, & Goos, 2011; Geiger, Goos, & Dole, 2011; Goos, Dole, & Geiger, 2011; Goos, Geiger, & Dole, 2011), this project aims to develop numeracy leadership using a whole school approach to capacity building across all curriculum areas. By utilising and further developing the expertise already present within the school it is hoped that the project will embed numeracy leadership in all curriculum areas. “Whole school” approaches may differ in primary and secondary schools to acknowledge differences in school structures and teachers’ areas of specialisation. In secondary schools it will be important to involve both mathematics teachers and teachers in other subject areas; in the latter case emphasizing that an understanding of the numeracy demands and opportunities in non-mathematics subjects can inform and enrich the teaching of those subjects.
November 18, 2016
Prof Merrilyn Goos (UQ)
Dr Shelley Dole (UQ)