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Numeracy

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Numeracy is the word to know for today’s math teachers! It’s more than computation and devising mathematic formulas. Numeracy is the ability to use mathematical ideas, principles and procedures for a purpose in one’s life.

There is a real urgency to improving our math instruction. The GED Testing Service (GEDTS) confirms that the Mathematics portion of the GED Tests continues to produce the lowest passing rate of the five different area tests. We need to search out training and learn new ways to improve our instruction. On this website, you will find important links and resources to help you learn more about numeracy and about teaching adults.

You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to view archived copies of Progress; Acrobat is a free download that will allow you to view and print PDF documents.

Associations

Adult Numeracy Network
This is a community dedicated to quality mathematics instruction at the adult level. Publications are easy to read with printable instructional insight for teaching adults who struggle with math.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
Founded in 1920, NCTM is the world’s largest mathematics education organization, with 100,000 members and 250 affiliates. NCTM is a public voice of mathematics education, providing vision, leadership, and professional development.

Curricula

The EMPower Project
Extending Mathematical Power (EMPower) is a curriculum for teaching math conceptually to adult learners. There are eight contextualized curriculum units organized around the four math strands: number and operation sense; patterns, functions and relations; geometry and measurement; and data and graphs.
The Core Skills Mastery (CSM) Program
The Core Skills Mastery (CSM) Program is web-based instruction and assessment that is free for individuals, schools, and non-profits. The concentration areas are Secondary School, Higher Ed, Workforce, and Business. The Workforce section is appropriate for GED students. This program focuses on combining math and literacy with extensive problem-solving and thinking skills.

Publications

Facing the Challenge of Numeracy in Adult Education
This report explains what "numeracy" is and why we need it. It makes the case for shifting from the current emphasis on traditional math instruction in adult education to instruction in a more comprehensive set of math skills, Among the major areas of focus in the report are articulation problems between ABE preparation for the GED and between the GED and college placement based on COMPASS.
Components of Numeracy
This paper describes the components of numeracy for adults in a clear and interesting manner. It also offers suggestions born of research on instruction in numeracy, the most effective approaches for adults, and implications for further research. (.pdf)
Adult Numeracy: A Reader
Adult Numeracy: A Reader is available at the CAAL website. It contains four papers from CAAL's January 2011 invitational Roundtable on Adult Numeracy.
A Review of Literature in Adult Numeracy: Research and Conceptual Issues
The report provides a synthesis of research on several facets of adult numeracy, including instructional approaches, interventions, and assessment. The second report of the project, a comprehensive review of professional development initiatives in adult numeracy, will be available later this winter. (.pdf)
Journal for Research in Mathematics Education
This publication promotes and disseminates disciplined inquiry into the teaching and learning of mathematic at all levels, including research reports, book reviews, and commentaries.
Teaching and Learning Principles
Excellent teaching and learning principles as guidelines for instructing adult learners in math, from the Adult Numeracy Network site. Quick read. (.pdf)
Beyond Worksheets: A Social and Holistic Approach to Numeracy
This report uses an approach that sees numeracy as social practice and adopts a holistic way of learning. The purpose of the project was to develop an approach for contextualizing the teaching of numeracy in adult literacy and workforce literacy environments.
Virtual Manipulatives
"Learning Mathematics with Virtual Manipulatives" explores the use and benefits of using virtual manipulatives in the classroom.
Accommodating Math Students with Learning Disabilities
If you have learners who read numbers backwards, have trouble telling time, confuse part and whole relationships, have difficulty keeping score in a game, and have difficulty remembering math facts, concepts, rules, formulas, sequences, and procedures, they may be learning disabled. In this article, we will look at some common profiles of learning disabled learners and strategies you can use in your math class to meet their specific learning needs.
Numeracy Issue of Focus on Basics
Focus on Basics was the quarterly publication of the National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy. (.pdf)
GED Testing Service (GEDTS) Statistical Study: Mathematics
Print off this quick summary of a statistical analysis that points out the themes most missed on the GED Math test. Includes sample problems. (.pdf)

Strategies/Resources

National Teachers of Mathematics’ Illuminations
Virtual activities and lessons for grades K-adult. Pick a topic and find a colorful and interactive lesson to engage your adult learner.
National Library of Virtual Manipulatives
A National Science Foundation supported project that began in 1999 to develop a library of uniquely interactive, web-based virtual manipulatives or concept tutorials, mostly in the form of Java applets, for mathematics instruction (K-12 emphasis).
Family Math Fun!
This is a manual of family numeracy activities, ready to use in early literacy programs, day care centers, primary grades, and Adult Basic Education/Literacy programs.
Gas Prices!
This is a great site for charts and graphs. Data & Statistics, which includes charts and graphs to a great extent, is one of our students' most challenging subject areas on the GED Math test. And yet it is crucial for life and work. Plus: let them check out local gas prices - the lowest...and the highest!
Ruler Activity
This activity allows students to work with fractions in a practical way. The learning here is appropriate for building GED skills without overwhelming students with drills on fictional fractions that they will never see in the real world. (.doc)
Problem Solving with a Graphic Organizer
Our students often have difficulty with problem solving because they neglect to read the problem carefully, define the type of answer required, identify key words, use a graphic organizer, estimate, and/or check for reasonableness. The attached graphic organizer is a tool that may help you help them hone their problem-solving abilities and come up with the right answer. (.doc)
Flash Cards Activities Online
This site is a simple and fun way to experience flash cards and shore up computer skills at the same time. Check out the basics, but there is also square roots, rounding, and a "Flashcard Creator" that allows you to print your own flashcards.
Cognitive Instruction Strategies Website
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has built a website devoted to Cognitive Strategy Instruction. While it is geared mainly to children, many of the strategies are also applicable to adults.
The Media Library of Teaching Skills
The Media Library of Teaching Skills(MLoTS) has added two GED prep and pre-GED class numeracy videos, Numeracy: Positive and Negative Numbers and Numeracy: Jeopardy Game for Numeracy Reinforcement.
The Virginia Teacher Observation Project
Check out Indicators of Good Teaching in Adult Education.

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The VALRC, located at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU School of Education), is funded primarily through the VA Department of Education.