In spring this year, National Numeracy began its pilot of the Challenge for Q-Step initiative in two UK universities.
The Challenge for Q-Step project, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, is part of the wider Q-Step initiative which was developed as a strategic response to the shortage of quantitatively-skilled social science graduates. Using our online tool, The Challenge, the students work towards getting the Essentials of Numeracy to give them the foundations and numeracy skills to help make sense of the quantitative elements of their course. Such skills can also be carried over into their everyday life in relation to scheduling, finances, and accommodation.
Initially, we began working with the University of Bristol and Manchester Metropolitan University, but the success of the pilot has attracted a further eight organisations to sign up to roll out to their students this term.
The pilot has enabled us to identify the three key touchpoints for engaging students in improving their numeracy:
- Before they start
o Preceding or at the start of their first year
- First assignment
o Ahead of a student’s first assignment that uses quantitative skills
- Final year
o In a student’s final year when considering careers and employability
We are expecting to begin work with the following universities within the next term, allowing us to potentially revise and expand our approach:
- University of Edinburgh
- University of Exeter
- City, University of London
- University of Manchester
- University of Essex
- University of Glasgow
- University of Warwick
- University of Kent
Come December, we’ll be rounding off our research and preparing to analyse the data we’ve collected. This will form part of our best practice guide from which we will create an online toolkit based on the findings; universities will then be able to use these tips and our tools to engage their students in maths for any subject.