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Didn’t like maths at school? We’ve got a challenge for you.

30 Apr 2019

By Maurice Tse-Leon, Digital Engagement Manager at National Numeracy

In March 2014 we launched the National Numeracy Challenge, it’s changed a lot over time but the point of it remains the same: to help anyone to improve their skills with numbers, no matter how they feel about maths.

When National Numeracy was formed to help the 49% of adults that have low levels of numeracy in the UK, it became apparent that the biggest barriers were not ability but people’s confidence and attitudes towards maths. This often stems from bad experiences of maths at school.

The Challenge is not like maths at school. You can take as long you like to answer our multiple-choice questions, you can save your progress and come back, you can use a calculator and we also use real world maths rather than some of the more complex maths we’re taught at school but don’t use in day-to-day life.

Because of this approach we’ve helped thousands of people improve their maths – 4 out of 5 who retake our numeracy Check-Up improve – and their attitude towards numbers. A few quotes from learners: 

It made me think about the ways I use maths everyday, and has encouraged me to try and work things out myself to keep improving my skills   

Long time since I have done any maths in this format and it was very good to see what I could achieve. 

it helped build my confidence as I am not as bad at maths as I thought.  Having the questions applied to real life examples was really useful as well 

5 years in and 220,000 learners 

Now as we approach a quarter of a million users we’re releasing a brand-new learner area for the Challenge.    

We’ve always been proud of the site - as a free, robust way to check your numeracy we think it’s the best option on the internet - but we knew the learning area could be better.  

That’s why we’ve put our thinking caps on, talked to some users and made some changes to the learning part of the Challenge. 

Here are some of the things our new and improved learning area offers:

  • Personalised learning plan based on the questions you struggle with in the Check-Up 
  • Access to our Building Confidence resources, addressing the lack of confidence that’s often the main barrier to improving  
  • Navigation simplified to make it easier to use 
  • Curation of the best third-party resources we can find, shortlisted at the right level for you 
  • Reminders of what you’ve been working on so you can easily get back to where you were in your last session 
  • Visualised progress towards improving your number-skills  

We’ve made these changes just in time for National Numeracy Day 2019. Don’t worry if you’re already using the Challenge, all your progress has been saved and you can carry on where you left off.