NALA Numerical Ability Study 2010_0

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Numerical Ability Study
August 2010
Prepared by Velma Burns and Anne-Marie Flynn
41110269
Presentation Content
•
•
Introduction
Research Method
•
The Findings
1. Feelings about maths and when used
2. Answers to primary school maths questions
• Percentage calculation
• Area calculation
• Multiplication & Addition
• Division
• Visual interpretation of bar chart
3. Summary of overall performance
•
Conclusions
2.
Overall Objectives & Research Method
This presentation reviews the findings of a survey carried out by Millward Brown Lansdowne on behalf of the
National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA).
The main objective of this study was to ascertain how numerically literate the public is, by asking a series of
primary school level maths questions unaided (i.e. no calculator). Examples of real life scenarios were
included in order to make the questions as life like as possible.
Research Method

A questionnaire was developed between Millward Brown Lansdowne and NALA. The questionnaire was
included on the Millward Brown Lansdowne Omnibus Survey.

The Omnibus is a face-to-face, in-home survey asked of a representative sample of adults aged 15+
years living in the Republic of Ireland.

The sample is quota controlled in terms of gender, age, social class and region, to reflect the actual
demographics of the adult population.

Interviews were conducted at 64 sampling, representative of the size and spread of urban and rural
localities nationwide.

Sample size: 1,010

Fieldwork dates:
23rd July – 7th August 2010
3.
Who likes doing maths and who doesn’t?
Base: all adults aged 15+ (1010)
%
Higher among:
• Primary
education
53%
YES
• DE’s
• 65+ years
47%
• Unemployed
47%
• Farmers
46%
• Working
in home
63
48%
NO
36
Higher among:
• AB’s
77%
• Student/
at school
75%
• 3rd level
education
72%
• C1’s
70%
43%
*
Don’t know/
Not specified
4.
When maths used in day-to-day life
Base: all adults aged 15+ (1010)
%
When buying groceries
/other shopping
47
When paying bills
44
At home
41
29
At work
In restaurants/cafes
12
7
With my kids
Never
Higher Among:
• 43% of ABC1’s
16
School/college/homework
Other
Higher Among:
• 35-49 yrs 48%
• Rural 49%
• Parents 48%
3
7
When do you do maths in your day to day life?
Higher Among:
• Don’t like doing maths 20%
• 65+ yrs 17%
• Primary education 16%
• Farmers 15%
• DE’s 10%
5.
Task: Percentage Calculation
How much does MP3 player cost including VAT at 21%?
Base: all adults aged 15+ (1010)
Answer = €242
Q. An MP3 player costs €200 plus 21%
value added tax (VAT). What is the total
cost of the MP3 player?
%
Correct
Incorrect
Don’t know/
no reply
56
34
9


–
Incorrect
answers
given
•221 (11%)
•220 (6%)
•240 (3%)
6.
Response across key groups (percentage
calculation mp3 player)
Base: all adults aged 15+ (1010)
GENDER
AGE
SOCIAL CLASS
FINISHED EDUCATION
LIKE MATHS?
Student/
Total Male Female <35 35+ ABC1 C2DE F Primary Secondary 3rd level at school Yes
(644)
(1010) (502) (508) (370) (640) (451) (507) (52)
(94)
(506)
(324)
(86)
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
No
(362)
%
Correct
56
63
50
56
56
67
47
62
38
52
67
61
67
39
Incorrect
34
30
39
34
34
29
39
29
40
38
29
26
30
42
Don’t
know/
no reply
9
7
12
10
9
4
14
9
22
10
4
14
4
19
• Men outperform women
• ABC1’s do better than C2DE’s
• Accuracy increases with level of formal education. Those who finished education
at primary level do worst overall
• Enjoyment of and competence in maths are closely linked. 6 in 10 of those who
don’t like maths either don’t know the answer or gave an incorrect answer
An MP3 player costs €200 plus 21% value added tax (VAT). What is the total cost of the MP3 player?
7.
Task: Area Calculation of Rectangular Field
Base: all adults aged 15+ (1010)
Answer = €300m2
Q. Which of the answers listed on this card
corresponds to the area of this
rectangular field?
%
Correct
56
Incorrect
24
Don’t know/
no reply
20


–
Incorrect
answers given
•150m2 (10%)
•70m2 (7%)
•35m2 (7%)
8.
Performance across key groups – Area
Calculation of Rectangular Field
Base: all adults aged 15+ (1010)
GENDER
AGE
SOCIAL CLASS
FINISHED EDUCATION
Total Male Female <35 35+ ABC1 C2DE F Primary Secondary
(1010) (502) (508) (370) (640) (451) (507) (52)
(94)
(506)
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
LIKE MATHS?
Student/
level at school Yes
(644)
(324)
(86)
%
%
%
3rd
No
(362)
%
Correct
56
62
50
59
53
69
46
50
23
50
73
63
68
34
Incorrect
24
23
25
27
22
18
28
27
37
25
17
27
19
33
Don’t know/
no reply
20
15
25
13
25
13
26
23
40
25
10
10
13
33
• Men, under 35’s, ABC1’s most likely to get the answer right
• Accuracy increases with level of formal education
• Enjoyment of and competence in maths are closely linked. Two
thirds of those who don’t like maths either don’t know the answer
or gave an incorrect answer
Which of the answers listed on this card corresponds to the area of this rectangular field?
9.
Task: Number of coke bottles in tray
(addition/multiplication)
Base: all adults aged 15+ (1010)
Answer = 48
Q. In total, how many bottles are in the two
full cases?
%
Correct
Incorrect
Don’t know/
no reply
83
16
1

–
Incorrect
answers
given
•36
•24
•40
•30
(4%)
(3%)
(2%)
(1%)
10.
Response across key groups - Number of
coke bottles in tray.
Base: all adults aged 15+ (1010)
GENDER
AGE
SOCIAL CLASS
Total Male Female <35 35+
(1010) (502) (508) (370) (640)
%
%
%
%
%
ABC1
(451)
%
FINISHED EDUCATION
C2DE F Primary Secondary
(507) (52)
(94)
(506)
%
%
%
%
LIKE MATHS?
Student/
level at school Yes
(644)
(324)
(86)
%
%
%
3rd
No
(362)
%
Correct
83
84
81
87
80
87
78
89
67
81
88
88
88
73
Incorrect
16
15
17
12
18
12
20
11
31
16
12
12
12
23
1
1
2
1
2
1
2
-
2
3
-
-
-
3
Don’t know/
no reply
• Under 35’s, ABC1’s and farmers most likely to get the answer right
• Accuracy increases with level of formal education
• One third of those leaving school at primary level gave wrong answer
In total, how many bottles are in the two full cases?
11.
Task: Visual based calculation.
How much petrol remains in tank?
Base: all adults aged 15+ (1010)
Answer = 36
Q. The petrol tank in this car holds 48 litres.
About how many litres of petrol remain in
the tank? You can assume that the
gas gauge is accurate.
%
Correct*
Incorrect
Don’t know/
no reply
73
19
8


–
‘Absolutely’
correct:
67%
Incorrect
answers given
•32 (3%)
•40 (3%)
•35 (2%)
*Note: responses within +/-3 deemed
to be correct. ‘Absolutely correct’
reflects exact answer of 36.
12.
Response across key groups – how much
petrol remains in the tank?
Base: all adults aged 15+ (1010)
GENDER
AGE
SOCIAL CLASS
FINISHED EDUCATION
Total Male Female <35 35+ ABC1 C2DE F Primary Secondary
(1010) (502) (508) (370) (640) (451) (507) (52)
(94)
(506)
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
LIKE MATHS?
Student/
level at school Yes
(644)
(324)
(86)
%
%
%
3rd
No
(362)
%
‘Absolutely’
Correct
67
72
63
68
67
75
61
66
51
64
78
62
79
47
Correct
73
79
67
74
73
82
66
77
59
71
84
66
83
57
Incorrect
19
15
23
20
18
16
22
17
21
21
14
28
14
29
8
5
10
6
9
2
12
6
19
9
3
6
4
14
Don’t know/
no reply
• Men, ABC1’s, those with 3rd level education and those who like maths are most
likely to get the answer right
The petrol tank in this car holds 48 litres. About how many litres of petrol
remain in the tank? You can assume that the gas gauge is accurate.
13.
Task: Interpretation of graph
Base: all adults aged 15+ (1010)
Answer = No
Q. A TV reporter showed this graph and said: “This
graph shows that there has been a huge increase in
robberies from 1998 to1999.” Do you consider the
reporter’s statement to be a reasonable interpretation of
the graph?
%
Correct
32
Incorrect
53
Don’t know
The graph is
confusing
7
7


–
?
14.
Response across key groups (interpretation of
graph)
Base: all adults aged 15+ (1010)
GENDER
AGE
SOCIAL CLASS
FINISHED EDUCATION
LIKE MATHS?
Student/
Total Male Female <35 35+ ABC1 C2DE F Primary Secondary 3rd level at school Yes
(644)
(1010) (502) (508) (370) (640) (451) (507) (52)
(94)
(506)
(324)
(86)
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
No
(362)
%
Correct
32
35
30
34
32
44
26
19
14
29
43
36
37
25
Incorrect
53
52
54
53
53
48
55
63
64
54
49
50
56
48
Don’t know/
no reply
7
7
8
7
8
5
9
12
17
8
4
9
4
14
Graph is
confusing
7
6
8
6
8
3
10
6
6
9
5
5
3
14
• ABC1’s and those with 3rd level education most likely to correctly interpret graph.
• Farmers and those who finished school at primary level most likely to
misinterpret.
• Some maths enthusiasts also fall into trap of misinterpretation
Do you consider the reporter’s statement to be a reasonable interpretation
of the graph?
15.
Task: Division. Which is better value?
Base: all adults aged 15+ (1010)
Answer = Pack A
Q. Which do you think is better value –
pack A or pack B?
%
Pack A
Correct
76
Incorrect
17

Pack B
Don’t know
7

–
16.
Response across key groups (division)
Base: all adults aged 15+ (1010)
GENDER
AGE
SOCIAL CLASS
FINISHED EDUCATION
LIKE MATHS?
Student/
Female <35 35+ ABC1 C2DE F Primary Secondary 3rd level at school Yes
(644)
(508) (370) (640) (451) (507) (52)
(94)
(506)
(324)
(86)
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
No
(362)
%
Total
(1010)
%
Male
(502)
%
Correct
76
78
75
78
75
83
72
64
61
74
84
77
82
66
Incorrect
17
16
17
15
18
13
18
22
24
18
12
16
15
19
Don’t know/
no reply
7
6
8
7
8
3
9
14
15
8
4
7
2
15
• ABC1’s, those with 3rd level education and those who like maths
most likely to get the answer right
Which do you think is better value – pack A or pack B?
17.
Which question posed the greatest difficulty
and which was the easiest?
Base: all adults aged 15+ (1010)
Task
% correct answer
Number of coke bottles
83
Best value pack A of films
76
Number of litres in petrol tank
Everyday situations
driving accuracy of
response?
73
Adding VAT to cost of mp3 player
56
Less familiar tasks?
Area of rectangular field
Interpretation of bar chart
56
32
18.
How did the public fare overall?
Base: all adults aged 15+ (1010)
Overall Grade
%
A (6/6)
15
27
B (5/6)
20
C (4/6)
D(3/6)
13
E (2/6)
12
F (1/6)
NG (0/6)
Six in ten adults got
at least 4 correct
answers, roughly
equivalent to a grade
A, B, or C
9
5
19.
Overall performance across key groups. Men,
ABC1’s and those with 3rd level education or still in
education most likely to score an A or a B
Base: all adults aged 15+ (1010)
GENDER
AGE
SOCIAL CLASS
FINISHED EDUCATION
LIKE MATHS
Student/
Total Male Female <35 35+ ABC1 C2DE F Primary Secondary 3rd level at school Yes
Grade (1010) (502) (508) (370) (640) (451) (507) (52)
(644)
(94)
(506)
(324)
(86)
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
No
(362)
%
A
15
19
12
16
15
24
10
6
3
12
23
19
20
7
B
27
29
24
29
25
33
22
25
14
25
33
29
33
16
C
20
19
21
19
20
18
19
31
15
21
21
16
21
17
D
13
11
16
14
13
11
15
12
20
14
10
13
11
17
E
12
11
12
12
11
7
14
14
18
13
8
9
8
18
F
9
7
10
6
10
4
12
7
22
8
5
10
6
14
NG
5
3
6
5
5
2
7
4
9
7
*
3
1
11
• C2DE’s and those who left school at primary level have lower
levels of numerical ability overall.
20.
Summary & Conclusions
•
The public acknowledge that doing maths forms an integral part of day-to-day life, spanning work & home life,
shopping and budgeting. Fewer than one in ten adults say they ‘never’ do maths.
•
Despite the need for numeracy skills in everyday life, just over 6 in 10 adults say they like doing maths, leaving a
significant third of adults who don’t enjoy doing maths.
•
One in five of those who don’t like maths claim to ‘never’ do maths, perhaps suggesting a cycle of avoidance based
on lack of competence and/or confidence.
•
Six in ten adults correctly answer at least four of the six primary school maths questions asked of the general public
in this study.
•
Education level emerges as the strongest factor determining correct responses among the public. This research
shows that those who leave formal education at primary level are most likely to struggle with numeracy, and those
completing third level education are most at ease.
•
Social grade also determines numerical ability, as ABC1 are much more likely than C2DE’s to get the answers right.
Farmers score somewhere in between both groups.
•
Men perform better than women overall, but age does not appear to be a strong factor determining numerical ability.
•
Questions that involve very day-to-day practical calculations that may be encountered in the supermarket – e.g.
number of coke bottles in tray, best value calculation for product packs – are more likely to be correctly answered
than less common scenarios such as area calculation and adding VAT to a price.
*
•
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
Overall this research highlights that two distinct sub-groups of the population – those who left school at primary level
and C2DE’s – have lower levels of numeracy skills overall and may require specific help and encouragement to
allow them to function effectively when faced with everyday numerical challenges.
21.
For further information, please contact:
Velma Burns, Associate Director
Anne-Marie Flynn, Senior Research Executive
Millward Brown Lansdowne,
Tel (01) 2974500
[email protected]
[email protected]
41110269
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