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What counts as numeracy?

Maclellan, Effie (2001) What counts as numeracy? Scottish Educational Review, 32 (2). pp. 157-168.

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Abstract

The purpose of the study was to infer the Scottish HMI view of what is meant by Numeracy given the concerns that primary children's achievements in Numeracy reflect a lack of flexibility in handling number and an overemphasis on procedures at the expense of understanding (HMI, 1997). Three hundred HMI reports on primary schools in Scotland were randomly selected. Content analysis of the sections on Number, Money and Measurement revealed Numeracy to be conceived of as computational proficiency and as understanding of number. Surprisingly, there were significantly more (p<0.05) references to computational proficiency than there were to understanding of number. The results are discussed in terms of what it means to understand number. It is suggested that there needs to be much clearer delineation of what is required and meant by the idea of understanding number.