eCite Digital Repository

Numeracy as critical thinking


Jain, P and Rogers, M, Numeracy as critical thinking, Adults Learning Mathematics, 14, (1) pp. 23-33. ISSN 1744-1803 (2019) [Refereed Article]

PDF (Published version)
Restricted - Request a copy

PDF (Published version)
Restricted - Request a copy

Copyright Statement

Copyright unknown

Official URL:


Adult learners preparing for university level study have varying degrees of prior experience, confidence, ability, motivation and need when it comes to mathematical tasks. The development of numeracy skills is a core aspect of university preparation, with many university courses requiring a certain level of mathematical literacy.

The standard model of numeracy support in enabling programs essentially replicates what students learned (or failed to learn) in high school. For adult learners with previous negative experiences, this approach can be intimidating, while others perceive high school mathematics as irrelevant and unnecessary to their chosen field of study. Adult learners require an entirely new approach to numeracy support.

Our approach has been to turn the standard model on its head, by recognising numeracy as a form of critical thinking that requires much more than an ability to manipulate numbers. The University of Tasmania Academic Numeracy unit utilises Watson’s (2009) Four Resource Model of Numerical Literacy to focus on critical evaluation of information, in both everyday and academic situations. The development of higher-order critical thinking skills forms the core of our unit, with explicit mathematical instruction provided in service of situating and critiquing real research. This approach has allowed us to develop critical numeracy skills in a way that is relevant, meaningful and valuable to all learners, whatever their future academic endeavours.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:maths, mathematics, adult learners, enabling education, numeracy, critical thinking
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Curriculum and pedagogy
Research Field:Mathematics and numeracy curriculum and pedagogy
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Teaching and curriculum
Objective Field:Assessment, development and evaluation of curriculum
UTAS Author:Jain, P (Dr Pragati Jain)
UTAS Author:Rogers, M (Ms Merran Rogers)
ID Code:135448
Year Published:2019
Deposited By:Nursing
Deposited On:2019-10-21
Last Modified:2020-04-28
Downloads:2 View Download Statistics

Repository Staff Only: item control page