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LucyGransnet (GNHQ) Wed 26-Mar-14 00:04:32

National Numeracy Challenge

Ever heard the phrase "I just don't get maths" or maybe "I just don't need it day to day"? If you have, chances are your grandchildren have too. Which is why National Numeracy has launched its major new initiative to tackle the issue of low adult numeracy and promote "can-do" attitudes towards maths.

National Numeracy

The National Numeracy Challenge

Posted on: Wed 26-Mar-14 00:04:32


Lead photo

Take The Challenge and help pass on a positive attitude towards maths.

In the recent OECD report, England was ranked at 21 out of 24 developed countries for low numeracy and Essential Skills levels amongst young adults (aged 16-24). National Numeracy's opinion poll suggests that millions of people in the UK want to improve their maths skills and many feel they were badly prepared at school for the numeracy they need in everyday life.

So, The Challenge is a call to action to everyone in workplaces, adult education, community organisations, and individuals to improve their numeracy - using methods that suit them, and with National Numeracy's support.

An interactive website designed to help participants assess and improve their everyday maths skills in bite-sized steps, The Challenge is aimed specifically at the 78% of UK adults with an understanding of numeracy below the equivalent of Level 2 (GCSE grades A*-C), the initiative seeks to help one million adults over the next five years to improve their confidence and skills with everyday maths.

National Numeracy's opinion poll suggests that millions of people in the UK want to improve their maths skills and many feel they were badly prepared at school for the numeracy they need in everyday life.

And by numeracy they mean "everyday maths"; the maths that helps people to make decisions in day-to-day adult life and work. Without a reasonable level of numeracy, certain things become tricky - like managing money through to pay-day, planning journeys or understanding interest rates, medical information or promotional offers.

The Challenge also aims to transform negative attitudes towards maths and numeracy and to create a positive “can do” attitude, a key element for improving numeracy skills - and an attitude it's important to pass on to children.

If you'd like to take The Challenge, or share it with anyone please go to National Numeracy are also running a survey with the aim of gathering data from parents, carers and grandparents about how they feel about maths, and the kind of support they would like to see made available. Do feel free to add your thoughts to the survey - and of course, to the thread.

By National Numeracy

Twitter: @Nat_Numeracy

durhamjen Wed 26-Mar-14 23:21:07

Done it. 98%. So pleased as I am teaching my grandson maths. I know which one I got wrong as well.

Aka Thu 27-Mar-14 00:00:57


MiceElf Thu 27-Mar-14 08:03:21

I surprised MiceElf by getting most of them right. Except that silly pond question. I used to know how to do it, but forgot years ago. Instead of faffing around with all those pi, r and squared I'd just walk round the edge with a piece of garden twine and measure that.

durhamjen Thu 27-Mar-14 16:39:10

We had to do that with the Vietnamese boat children when they first arrived in this country, MiceElf, with string and tin cans. It was to teach them the English words, radius, circumference, etc., but they were most upset that they did not get exactly 3.142 for pi.

MiceElf Thu 27-Mar-14 16:45:56

The other problem with the challenge is that if you do it on an iPad a number of images don't load so you can't answer them. If you do it do it on a big pooter.

MiceElf Thu 27-Mar-14 16:51:14

Jen, my son was at school with a Vietnamese boat boy. He arrived without a word of English, shared a small flat with his parents and eight sibs. He was a lovely boy and a whiz at Maths. DS helped him with English and he helped the others with Maths. He got 6 A*s and went to Imperial and is now a statistician for the NHS.

MiceElf Thu 27-Mar-14 17:16:39

I've been thinking about this; whilst I think it's a jolly good idea for everyone to be able to be numerate enough to manage mathematics in everyday life, and I'm sure the questions on the challenge are relevant to this, it seems to me that to be really useful the challenge should forget about buying fences for circular ponds and space left on bookshelves. After all there are practical ways of finding the answers to these questions.

What I would like to see are questions relating to the ways in which governments and others seek to distort information. One example is the way bar charts or line graphs are shrunk or extended to give a misleading impression. Other examples would be the sort that Flickety B referred to on another thread about the use of mean or median which again distorts perception and presents an entirely false view.

I think many people find interest rates confusing and pensions a minefield. And again, a lot of the problem isn't with the Maths but with the way the language around the question or information is used.

Perhaps someone from the Challenge could comment.

janeainsworth Thu 27-Mar-14 17:47:14

blush silver.
Equivalent to GCSE D-G

janeainsworth Thu 27-Mar-14 17:47:43

I passed O level too shock

durhamjen Thu 27-Mar-14 18:00:50

Good idea, MiceElf. I look at who try to put people right about statistics and graphs and misleading information. Maybe that's in the next lot of questions that you can go on to. I know enough to teach my grandson up to GCSE grade A*-C, so that will do for me.
I did teach maths and English until I gave up teaching, so it's good to know I haven't forgotten everything.
We always thought the boat people would do well.

durhamjen Thu 27-Mar-14 18:01:35