Is Numeracy important?

What is the issue?

Low levels of numeracy are a long-term problem for the UK.

1. Numeracy skills have got worse, not better

Proportion of working age adults in England with skills levels equivalent to GCSE “C” grade or above

2. High numeracy is connected to better…

3. The UK risks becoming less competitive internationally

The scale and cost of the issue

The causal chain of poor numeracy

In the UK, socio-economic background influences a child’s achievement by 10% to 20%

30% wrongly assume that maths is a skill
you are born with, rather than a skill
that can be learnt

At school, children are often not prepared for using math in everyday life

Of 15-16 year olds doing GCSE math in the UK…

24% of 16-24 year olds achieving A*-C grade at GCSE reach the equivalent level in the Skills for Life assessment

1 in 4 adults in the UK believe school math did not prepare them well for math in everyday life

Among those aged 24+
numeracy skills decline with age

 But too few people take steps to improve their numeracy


Data sources:
Skills for Life 2011; PIAAC 2014; National Numeracy YouGov Survey 2014

When we say “low numeracy” we usually mean those below Level 2 on the UK adult qualifications scale.

Image credits:
Created by Christian Wad and Jack Curry from the Noun Project.

Article source: National Numeracy


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Good Numeracy KEY to Health & Wealth



“Good numeracy is the best protection against unemployment, low wages and poor health.” (OECD)


We use math in every aspect of our lives at work and in practical everyday activities at home and beyond. We use math when we go shopping or plan a holiday, decide on a mortgage or decorate a room. Good numeracy is essential to us as parents helping our children learn, as patients understanding health information, as citizens making sense of statistics and economic news. Decisions in life are so often based on numerical information: to make the best choices, we need to be numerate.


High numeracy is connected to better…


Research from a review of adult up-skilling in numeracy by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has demonstrated that improving numeracy directly contributes to growth in personal and social confidence

The digital age

The digital age presents us with more numerical data than ever before and puts a new premium on numeracy skills.

Computers can do the mathematical processing for us, but we need good numeracy in order to use them effectively – to enter the right data and decide whether the answer seems approximately right.

Right now around 90% of new graduate jobs require a high level of digital skills (Race Online 2012), and digital skills are built on numeracy.


Math is absolutely crucial for your everyday life and international research tells us that good numeracy is the best protection against unemployment, low wages and poor health.” (Mike Ellicock, chief executive of the charity National Numeracy)


(Article Source: National Numeracy)

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