Mathematics & Numeracy


What is Numeracy?

Numeracy, when used in the same context as ‘literacy’, means having a grasp of numbers and data and the arithmetic and reasoning necessary for everyday life. It means confidently handling money, understanding interest, using timetables, working out journey times and interpreting graphs and charts - in other words, living in the modern world. As such, numeracy is a concrete and useful concept.

Numeracy goes beyond mere computation – it includes essential skills such as solving problems, understanding and explaining the solutions, making decisions based on logical thinking and reasoning and interpreting data, charts and diagrams.

Being numerate allows you to access and interpret information, identify possibilities, weigh up different options and decide on which option is most appropriate.

The numeracy experiences and outcomes in Curriculum for Excellence have been structured using eight organisers:

  • Estimation and rounding
  • Number and number processes
  • Fractions, decimal fractions and percentages
  • Money
  • Time
  • Measurement
  • Data and analysis
  • Ideas of chance and uncertainty.


Numeracy Skills & Applications 

Comprehension 50comprehension and interpretationResearching ‘deals’ for products online to identify the best deal based on numerical information
Secondary organiser 50connecting learning from across experiences and outcomes (combining different numeracy organisers)Drawing up table of costs on excel spread sheets
(data handling)
Imputing correct operations or formulas into the spreadsheet to calculate quantities or prices
(number and number processes)
Problem solving 50problem solving and reasoningPlanning for an event
working out how much of a specific resource is required
Notation and vocabulary 50using and understanding mathematical notation and vocabularyDiscussing, using appropriate vocabulary, the risks involved in decisions
Estimation 50estimating and checking the reasonableness of the answerEstimating to get a rough idea of how many/how much based on a combination of numeracy skills and context
Calculating, as appropriate, to find exact quantities/amounts required
Accurate calculation 50realising the importance of accurate calculationsDiscussing the consequences involved in incorrect calculations
Resilience 50resilience – ability to stick to a taskSupporting learners to stick to the task, even when it becomes challenging by providing a real purpose
Number of operations 50number of operations and intermediate stepsKnowing or working out which operation is appropriate
e.g. can learners identify the operations necessary to calculate 20% discounts?
Flexible thinking 50flexible thinkingRelating a previous learning experience to the current task
‘I remember when I had to do something like this in…’
Application of inverse operations 50application of inverse operations which require direct operations to be known wellRecognising when working backwards is appropriate. e.g. when bulk buying products, working backwards to calculate how much one item would cost

When you are applying your knowledge, understanding and skills in unfamiliar contexts, you are problem solving.