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Numerate behavior involves:

managing a situation or solving a problem in a real context

everyday life



further learning

by responding

identifying or locating

acting upon


communicating about

to information about mathematical ideas

quantity and number

dimension and shape

pattern and relationships

data and chance


that is represented in a range of ways

objects and pictures

numbers and symbols


diagrams and maps




and requires activation of a range of enabling knowledge, behaviors, and processes.

mathematical knowledge and understanding

mathematical problem-solving skills

literacy skills

beliefs and attitudes.

Source: Gal, I., van Groenestijn, M., Manly, M., Schmitt, M.J., and Tout, D. (1999). Adult Literacy and Lifeskills Survey Numeracy Framework Working Draft. Ottawa: Statistics Canada.

The Components of Numeracy (2006) Lynda Ginsburg, Myrna Manly, and Mary Jane Schmitt

What is the nature of the components specific to adult numeracy that are inherent in numeracy practice and essential to frame a vision that can be used to inform and guide instructional practice, further research, and assessment development? That is the question Lynda Ginsburg, Myrna Manly, and Mary Jane Schmitt focused on as they considered the nature of numeracy. Their study highlights a critical area of adult education that has been largely ignored, under-funded, and under-studied. Their results can serve as a conceptual framework within which to situate research into both adult numeracy development and recommendations for instructional practices.

The Inclusion of Numeracy in Adult Basic Education (2002) - Dave Tout and Mary Jane Schmitt

Numeracy, as defined in this paper, should be viewed as part of the core skill base of any literate individual. Without the emphasis on numeracy as a core essential skill, one that is critical for adults in society, ABE will be unable to fulfill its promise as a second chance for all the adults who choose to participate.

Adult Numeracy Instruction: A New Approach (December 1994)

Working Conference on Adult Mathematical Literacy (March 1994)

Math & Democracy: The Case for Quantitative LiteracyA collection of essays and articles, edited by Lynn Arther Steen. 

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