The Importance of Maths…
Maths is used by most of us daily; we may use algebra to work out the cheapest combination of ingredients in the supermarket; percentages to work out the amount of tip to leave in a restaurant; knowledge of time to work out how long until the next train leaves the station.
Not only is maths important to enable us to undertake these calculations but the skills developed through studying maths are increasingly in demand - problem solving, logical thinking and investigation skills.
Many jobs will specify that the applicant is required to hold a Grade C or Level 4/5 in GCSE Maths or above. Additionally, whilst it may not be specified in the job description, many employers will look for problem-solving skills at various stages of the interview process. This could be through psychometric tests, group activities or one-to-one interviews.
Given that Maths is so important it is disappointing to note that poor numeracy remains endemic in the UK. The National Numeracy Charity states that statistics prepared by the Government suggest that ‘49% of the population old enough to work in the UK – have the numeracy level that is expected of primary school children.’
Almost a quarter of adults across the UK were unable to answer the following correctly ‘You are paid £9/hour and receive a 5% pay rise. What is your new rate of pay?’
These figures are concerning but I am delighted to see the progress being made by ‘National Numeracy’ - established to help address these issues and in particular to help raise low levels of numeracy among both adults and children. Their website has lots of useful information and as a Maths Tutor the article titled ‘Project shows 88% of children say their maths confidence improves when parents become more involved in their learning’ was of particular interest. So much can be done to enhance learning and with support and practice improved skills in Maths can be gained no matter what age.
If you are interested to assess your own maths skills why not take the National Numeracy Challenge at www.nnchallenge.org.uk?