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Poor numeracy 'blighting' millions

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Poor numeracy 'blighting' millions

Post by astradt1 on Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:35 pm

Today the results of a survey carried out by/on behalf of the government suggest that:-

Figures from a Government survey, published last year, show that 17 million adults in England have basic maths skills that are, at best, the same as an 11-year-olds, he said.

The Skills for Life survey, which questioned 7,000 16 to 65-year-olds, show that almost half of the working age population has numeracy skills roughly the same as those expected of primary school children, and the proportion has risen (from 47% to 49%) in the last eight years.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/03/02/poor-numeracy-blighting-millions-of-lives_n_1315465.html

Who do you think is responsible for this state of affairs and what do you think can be done
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Re: Poor numeracy 'blighting' millions

Post by Shirina on Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:23 pm

Unfortunately the article didn't go into detail about what type of numeracy is involved. I didn't see anything like: "67% of 30 year-olds could not multiply 5x5" or something similar. Without knowing the exact severity of the problem, I can't make too many comments.

However, truth be told, these figures aren't surprising and, in most cases, inevitable. Mathematics is a highly perishable skill ... if you don't use it, you lose it. Thus it stands to reason that if you haven't had to do long division in 20 years, you're going to forget how. That's true of anyone regardless of how smart, well-educated, or successful you are. In today's world of technology, there is no reason to do long division or multiply fractions by hand. In fact, you don't need to do much math at all with pencil and paper. A 15 step mathematical problem can be done in an eyeblink with a few button presses.

Unless you're working with numbers on a daily basis, you're not going to maintain your skills even if you were a math whiz in school. If this study was sliding a problem like 2/3 x 9/10 = ? in front of a 49 year-old who hasn't had to multiply a fraction since he was 11, of course he's going to flub the test.

And there's nothing anyone can do about it, either, unless the government wants to start assigning everyone mandatory basic math refresher classes every couple of years, and I doubt that will go over very well.
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Re: Poor numeracy 'blighting' millions

Post by astra on Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:31 pm

And there's nothing anyone can do about it, either, unless the government wants to start assigning everyone mandatory basic math refresher classes every couple of years, and I doubt that will go over very well.


Put it on mind numbing TV channels and offer a 'prize' this will show how many, and what calibre will take on the challenge. I'm 59 and fluffed yer problem yer minx!
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Re: Poor numeracy 'blighting' millions

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:09 pm

Shirina wrote:Unfortunately the article didn't go into detail about what type of numeracy is involved. I didn't see anything like: "67% of 30 year-olds could not multiply 5x5" or something similar. Without knowing the exact severity of the problem, I can't make too many comments.


An example shown on British TV showed adults alongside 11-year-old children, asked to ADD four figures expressed as metres, including kilometres. The adults finished first, but it was the children who got the right answer.

It's an obvious truism that people who need to use figures every day will be better at it than those whose work does not require calculations.
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Re: Poor numeracy 'blighting' millions

Post by Phil Hornby on Sat Mar 03, 2012 11:57 am

Six twelves are seventy two; seven twelves are eighty-four, ;eight twelves are ninety-six; nine twelves are.... even more................; eleven twelves are....er.....quite a lot...... Shocked
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Re: Poor numeracy 'blighting' millions

Post by Ivan on Sat Mar 03, 2012 3:29 pm

Excuse me for being cynical, but I suspect that the purpose of publishing this government survey now is to help justify that oily little sneak Gove's plans to privatisation the UK education system.
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Re: Poor numeracy 'blighting' millions

Post by Phil Hornby on Sat Mar 03, 2012 4:26 pm

Yep. We all recognise that as soon as Serco takes over ( at great expense) the provision of mathematics in schools , Darryl Yobbe and his mates will soon have their calculus up to scratch... Rolling Eyes
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Re: Poor numeracy 'blighting' millions

Post by astra on Sat Mar 03, 2012 4:37 pm

Why did we not just vote Serco as leaders of this country in 2010 and cut out the middle man (Cameron) ??????????????????????????????????????
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Re: Poor numeracy 'blighting' millions

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:23 pm

Ivan wrote:Excuse me for being cynical, but I suspect that the purpose of publishing this government survey now is to help justify that oily little sneak Gove's plans to privatisation the UK education system.

But on the other hand, the oily little sneak has just been ordered by The Data Commissioner to make public the e-mails he has sent using his wife's hotmail account (so as to avoid his Civil Servants being able to monitor them). The oily little sneak has 28 days in which to appeal.
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Re: Poor numeracy 'blighting' millions

Post by Scarecrow on Thu Mar 08, 2012 11:24 pm

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Re: Poor numeracy 'blighting' millions

Post by Shirina on Fri Mar 09, 2012 8:06 am

Apparently the creators of the numeracy test failed their literacy test given the typo next to "Q4" study
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Re: Poor numeracy 'blighting' millions

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:06 pm

Oh Dear. Dyxelsia in a Moderator?

4 (d) looks correct to this ignoranamus.
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Re: Poor numeracy 'blighting' millions

Post by astradt1 on Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:15 pm

Looks like they were trying to save space Very Happy
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Re: Poor numeracy 'blighting' millions

Post by trevorw2539 on Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:08 pm

What happened to the old imperial money and weights. It was much easier. After all it was only

960 farthings or

480 halfpennies or

240 pennies or

80 threepenny pieces or

40 sixpences or

20 shillings or

10 florins or

8 halfcrowns or

2 tenshilling notes

In each pound. Sooo simple.
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Re: Poor numeracy 'blighting' millions

Post by Penderyn on Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:51 pm

When I was taught Maths it included arithmetic (where you answered questions no normal person would want to know the answer to, like how long it took to empy a bath), geometry (which was interesting because -as presented to us - a pointless piece of logical deduction from stated assumptions) and Algebra, which seemed to us the equivalent of Sanskrit - doubtless of interest to some, but far away from where we were. Nowadays they want their serfs taught how to do easy tasks for them, for peanuts. The problem at all times is motivation, and that differs between students, teachers and would-be exploiters. You can only interest people in what interests you: most of those who can handle mathematics can do a lot better than waste time teaching, and to get excited about making some crook richer is a very rare talent indeed.
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Re: Poor numeracy 'blighting' millions

Post by astradt1 on Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:02 pm

I used to think that algebra was a a waste of time until I started using Spreadsheets then realised what the formula looked like:-
=SUM((F255)/100)*74.3011

Then it all became clear...........
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Re: Poor numeracy 'blighting' millions

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:33 pm

A friend who runs an Office Supplies business was taken by surprise when Amstrad Word Processors became de rigeur, as he had an entirely novel stream of customers quoting point-sizes and classes of typeface at him, and betraying an unusual knowledge of paper size.

You never know when useless knowledge might come in handy.
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Re: Poor numeracy 'blighting' millions

Post by bobby on Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:23 am




  • This graphic shows how the A-level pass rate has changed over the years.

    by Sarah Tawton, Press...8/16/2012 10:17:30 AM 12:17 PM



Michael Goves Legacy.
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Re: Poor numeracy 'blighting' millions

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Aug 16, 2012 2:51 pm

Comparing exam results year-on-year is as valuable as measuring shoe size of the candidates. Examining Boards are constantly monkeying with "control factors" which are meant to iron-out possible inconsistencies.
They can decide, e.g. that all scores over 80 will be recorded as 80, and that all scores under 40 will be shown as 40. This reduces the spread of marks without affecting the number of passes, and makes the peer group of children look of similar ability. There are many similar such "controls" that can be applied.

In other places this is achieved by cohort marking that measures the strength of the examinees only against each other - not against a predetermined pass mark. Assuming your requirement is for a 20% pass-rate the top 20% of that sitting are declared to have passed - even if nobody scored even as much as half-marks, say.
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Re: Poor numeracy 'blighting' millions

Post by starlight07 on Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:17 pm

Examining Boards are constantly monkeying with "control factors" which are meant to iron-out possible inconsistencies.

Yeh and from a teacher's POV, the grade boundaries are not consistent too. Pupil A can achieve C on his/her maths paper yet with the same percentage or score may be achieving a B or D if they sat another similar paper months later.

For example, to achieve grade C the pupil needs 44/54 when sitting the foundation maths 'January' paper but this grade boundary for C becomes 40/54 if this paper was set for 'June'.
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Re: Poor numeracy 'blighting' millions

Post by starlight07 on Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:27 pm

Unfortunately the article didn't go into detail about what type of numeracy is involved.

Heh, Shirina, you can get access to questions found on the adult numeracy test online. But it's a qualification on its own coming under the Skills for Life. I've worked under the Skills for Life department at a college. The questions are not difficult...but some can make you think and they're again level based.

Anyway, I usually am afraid of sitting such tests. Even when working for my QTS, I dreaded taking the numeracy test as I didn't wish to fail it. Not that I did but failing it would have been an embarrassment to me.
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Re: Poor numeracy 'blighting' millions

Post by starlight07 on Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:25 pm

Here are some videos of how the numeracy test for a trainee teacher is conducted.



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Re: Poor numeracy 'blighting' millions

Post by oftenwrong on Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:33 pm

The real aim of Examinations is usually to produce a pre-determined outcome.
The desired result conditions the nature of The Test.

This is not sinister, it's a sensible division of the sheep from the goats. Any civilised Society needs a (small) proportion of Leaders assisted by a large supply of The Led. An Empire only has room for one Emperor.
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Re: Poor numeracy 'blighting' millions

Post by boatlady on Thu Nov 22, 2012 9:16 am

Back in the days when I was taking exams, it was pretty well understood that the examining body would allocate a certain percentage of 'A' grades 'B' grades etc, so your final score reflected where you stood in relation to your peers, not any notional 'absolute' score.
Seemed fairer to me - after all, exams are a way of finding out who's 'top' - to me, 90% of candidates with 'A' grade tells me nothing about what an 'A' grade means.
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Re: Poor numeracy 'blighting' millions

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