International Numeracy Survey. A Comparison of the Basic Numeracy Skills of Adults 16-60 in Seven Countries.Report as inadecuate

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An international numeracy scale compared how well adults in seven countries--the United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Japan, Australia, and Denmark--handled some basic tasks involving numbers. The questionnaire comprised a set of 12 numeracy tasks that respondents were asked to complete using pen and paper. Within each country, the numeracy tasks were posed to a representative sample of adults aged 16 or 18 to 59/60. Tasks included adding and subtracting decimals, simple multiplication, calculating area, calculating percentages, and using fractions. Comparing the percentage of respondents who managed to give the correct answer for all tasks, Japan emerged at the top with 43 percent, followed by France (40 percent), and the Netherlands (38 percent). Respondents in the United Kingdom performed least well with only 20 percent accurately completing all 12 tasks. When results were reviewed for the proportion of respondents getting most answers right, UK respondents could achieve an average of only 7.9 correct. All other nations achieved an average of 9 or more correct. Most difficulty overall was experienced with questions where respondents were asked to use fractions. Analyses inferred that the typical UK resident who struggled with basic numeracy was young, female, and from a working class household. (The report includes the full tabulated results for each question, summary tables, and these appendixes: technical notes, survey details by country, and the 12 tasks.) (YLB)

Descriptors: Adult Basic Education, Adult Literacy, Arithmetic, Basic Skills, Comparative Analysis, Computation, Developed Nations, Foreign Countries, Literacy Education, Mathematics Skills, Number Concepts, Numeracy

Basic Skills Agency, Commonwealth House, 1-19 New Oxford Street, London WC1A 1NU, England, United Kingdom.

Author: Basic Skills Agency, London England.


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