02/03/2012

UK Failing At Maths

Almost half of the adults in England have a poor understanding of maths, according to a new charity.

Fortunately for me, I'm part of the remaining three-quarters.

National Numeracy has found that 17 million people in the country struggle with maths. Many of them have an understanding of numeracy equivalent to that of a primary school pupil.

That means they can add up, and maybe subtract, but if they were on a train heading north at 40mph and another train was heading south at 50mph, they wouldn't have a clue what to do about it.

The number of innumerate adults in England has grown by up to two million in eight years. It's almost like they're breeding. Now that would be irony, the innumerates are multiplying.

It's harder to be good at maths these days. I went in a shop a while back and a 10p mix of sweets was 50p. What chance do we stand?

International studies show that the UK is lagging behind other nations when it comes to the subject. As a proportion of our population we have twice as many people with poor maths skills than they have in the United States. I find that shocking because I thought we were better at it than the Americans. I was basing that on the fact we say "maths" and they say "math". Ours is plural, so I thought that meant we had more maths over here.

There's some good news. While the standard of our maths ability has dropped the literacy levels in the UK have improved. So when we get an F in maths at least we know what that means.

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