What is numeracy

What is numeracy?

By numeracy we mean the ability to use mathematics in everyday life.

Being numerate means having the confidence and skill to use numbers and mathematical approaches in all aspects of life - at work, in practical everyday activities at home and beyond, as consumers, in managing our finances, as parents helping our children learn, as patients making sense of health information, as citizens understanding the world about us. We have worked with experts to define these as the Essentials of Numeracy.

Numeracy complements literacy and is sometimes called ‘mathematical literacy’. Both skills are needed in order to function fully in modern life.

Being numerate means being able to reason with numbers and other mathematical concepts and to apply these in a range of contexts and to solve a variety of problems. Being numerate is as much about thinking and reasoning logically as about 'doing sums'.

It means being able to:

  • Interpret data, charts and diagrams
  • Process information
  • Solve problems
  • Check answers
  • Understand and explain solutions
  • Make decisions based on logical thinking and reasoning.

Numeracy involves skills that are sometimes not adequately learnt in the classroom – the ability to use numbers and solve problems in real life.