Numeracy counts: UIL and University of Hamburg to examine adults’ everyday use of numeracy skills

26 January 2017

The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), through its action research project to measure learning outcomes for literacy programme participants (RAMAA - Recherche Action: Mesure des apprentissages des bénéficiaires des programmes d’alphabétisation), will use the data collected in the second phase of the project, to evaluate everyday numeracy competencies and practices of adults in day-to-day life. It will do this through a collaborative research study with the University of Hamburg, which has been an important partner of the Institute since its inception, and will include the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences and the Helmut Schmidt University / University of the Federal Armed Forces, in Hamburg. This research project has been selected for funding, from among many other applications, by Hamburg’s Authority for Science, Research and Equality. The funding will last for a period of three and a half years, the total funding volume amounts to about 1.5 million euros.

Numeracy is a vital part of being able to function in work-life and as an active citizen. Developing a successful approach to numeracy can have a huge positive impact on a country’s economic and social wellbeing. Yet we understand far too little about how effective adults, and in particular those belonging to vulnerable groups in society, are at solving everyday mathematical problems or about how emotions, stress and other pressures affect their ability to learn mathematics and make use of what they have learned. These are some of the questions that will be considered by this research project, with the aim of creating better understanding of the needs of adultsin mathematics education and learning.