advertisement

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