One of the most interesting newsletters that I have signed up to, and actually read and enjoy, is the Statista "Chart of the Day" - this is an interesting view of statistics from research and surveys conducted all over the world. One of Statista's recent reports tells us about "The Countries that Struggle The Most With Math" (see embedded chart below).
The data are based on OECD studies into numeracy skills in the 18-29 year old age group. Top of the list is the United States with "29 percent of 18 to 29 year olds not reaching an adequate level of numerical proficiency" - from this is is deduced that they struggle with maths. Interestingly Ireland comes fifth in this study with 22.3% failing to reach an adequate level of numerical proficiency.
You will find more statistics at Statista
One of my first reactions on seeing these data was that this means that 77.7% of Irish people in the 18-29 age bracket DON'T struggle with maths! I'd like to know who they are! Methinks that Statista are also guilty of a slightly misleading headline to their post - I'm certain that many people who do reach an adequate level of numeracy also struggle with maths from time to time.
Singer Lily Allen was recently in the news because she tweeted that she has "not used Pythagoras's theorem once" since she left school 15 years ago. I must confess that in the near 39 years since I left school I have not found it necessary to use it either.
|Image source: The Telegraph.
Maths of course is more than learning about a theorem by Pythagoras, who has bored maths students for over 2,500 years. But how do we improve our numeracy rates? In the same study, South Korea recorded a very impressive 7.1% - how do they do it? The above statistics makes for difficult reading for anyone involved in our education system - there's nothing to be proud of in these figures.