Post Secondary students numeracy skills declining, report says
By Shaneza Subhan
Post secondary students in Ontario have been assessed on their numeracy and science skills by the federal government as well as the government of Ontario and the results aren’t good.
According to a new report from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, post secondary students in programs that do not integrate math and science into their curriculum have very little opportunity to develop numeracy skills. The term refers to the ability to do basic math.
The council collects information on numeracy scores and puts it together, assessing Ontario post secondary students in comparison to their counterparts around the world.
“Even though numeracy is important in our society for succeeding in life and in the field, there is a general lack of emphasis on numeracy in colleges and universities, unless you are in a field of study where numeracy is important,” said Nicholas Dion, the author of the report.
Dion questions what the implications of not having numeracy and literacy could be for higher education.
“What sort of skills are students bringing into their post secondary institutions and what are they leaving with at the end?” he said.
University of Toronto Commerce student Michael Cheney said it’s important to have some sort of numeracy knowledge but it all depends on the type of program.
“You may not need math in performing daily activities but understanding how analysts come up with facts and figures can better your ability in performing your job,” Cheney said. “It’s constant knowledge gaining and knowledge diversification.”
Cheney also said it’s important to include diversity in all areas of study to train your brain for other things whether you’re going to actually put it to use or not.
According to report, numeracy should be treated with the same amount of equality as literacy. It should be incorporated into all post-secondary courses and not only math related fields.
This will ensure that these students have the opportunity to develop and enrich their numeracy skills regardless of their major.
The council says on its website that its job is to to conduct research, evaluate the postsecondary education system and provide policy recommendations to government.