Skills for Success: Numeracy

The Government of Canada recognizes that numeracy skills are needed in a wide variety of daily contexts, including managing your finances and making sense of statistics in the news. The Skills for Success framework (previously called Essential Skills) consists of nine skills. Understanding numbers remains critical to functioning in today’s society. With the right resources, we can build our numeracy skills to improve both our work and home lives. To help support this essential skill, we have gathered resources on numeracy.

“A numerate individual has the confidence and awareness to know when and how to apply quantitative and spatial understandings at home, at school, at work or in the community.” Goverment of Alberta

The video below offers an introduction to numeracy.

What’s the difference between numeracy and mathematics?

The Province of Alberta offers a good explanation of the difference in their Numeracy Factsheet:

Mathematics and numeracy both draw on the same body of knowledge, but they are not the same. Numeracy involves examining a particular context or situation and drawing on the relevant mathematical understandings to make an informed and personally suitable decision. For example, choosing the most economical family cell phone plan requires an individual to perform calculations (mathematics) and accommodate the data, talk time and texting needs of each user (numeracy).

ABC Life Literacy Canada outlines eight examples of how math and numeracy apply to everyday life.

8 Examples of Using Numeracy

  1. Financial Literacy. Numeracy is essential for managing personal finances. From budgeting and calculating expenses to understanding interest rates and investment returns, numeracy empowers us to make informed financial decisions about our money.
  2. Critical Thinking. Numeracy fosters critical thinking skills. It enables us to analyze information, evaluate data and make sound judgments. This is vital in navigating daily challenges, solving problems and making decisions based on evidence.
  3. Career Advancement. Many jobs require a certain level of numeracy. Whether it’s analyzing data, creating reports or understanding statistics, numeracy is a valuable skill in many career paths, from business and science to technology and healthcare.
  4. Everyday Tasks. Numeracy is essential to everyday tasks such as cooking (measuring ingredients), shopping (calculating discounts and prices) and home improvement (measuring spaces and materials). Numeracy simplifies these activities and ensures accuracy.
  5. Technology Use. In an increasingly digital world, numeracy is fundamental for using technology effectively. From understanding numerical interfaces to interpreting data images, numeracy enhances digital literacy skills.
  6. Health Management. Numeracy plays a role in health-related decisions, such as understanding medication dosages, interpreting nutritional labels and monitoring health information like blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
  7. Time Management. Numeracy is crucial for managing time efficiently. It helps in scheduling tasks, calculating travel times and understanding the passage of time, helping with effective time management skills.
  8. Problem Solving. Numeracy equips individuals with problem-solving skills. It enables them to break down complex issues into manageable parts, identify patterns and plan solutions through mathematical reasoning.

For more information on teaching numeracy, check out the resources below.


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