• Developing Mathematical Literacy in Welsh Secondary Schools

    Research Articles

    Developing Mathematical Literacy in Welsh Secondary Schools

    Authors: ,


Standards of literacy and numeracy in Wales are a cause for concern. Twenty per cent of 16- to 19-year-olds have literacy levels at or below entry level; of greater concern, 60 per cent are estimated to have standards of numeracy at or below that level (WG, 2011). In the 2009 cycle of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) Wales performed significantly lower than the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development average in both reading and mathematical literacy and significantly lower than the other countries in the United Kingdom (Bradshaw et al., 2010). The minister's keynote address 'Raising Schools Standards', delivered on 29 June 2011 to the Institute of Welsh Affairs, announced the intention to introduce a new National Literacy and Numeracy Framework, including national tests of literacy and numeracy (Andrews, 2011b). In July 2011 an action research project was established at Swansea Metropolitan University, in partnership with six secondary schools in five local authorities in Wales, to investigate the development of reading and mathematical literacies across the curriculum. This paper reports on the development of mathematical literacy. Mathematical literacy under PISA is defined as 'an individual's capacity to identify and understand the role that mathematics plays in the world, to make well-founded judgments and to use and engage with mathematics in ways that meet the needs of that individual's life as a constructive, concerned and reflective citizen' (Bradshaw et al., 2010). Teachers were co-researchers in action research over the 2011/12 academic year focusing on Year 9. During the year, university researchers joined with teachers in network meetings to discuss the development of intervention strategies. A socio-constructivist view was taken of the learning of mathematics. University researchers also observed lessons and interviewed teachers about their interventions. Alongside this qualitative analysis, the project incorporated pre- and post-testing of all pupils using PISA-style assessments to inform a post hoc analysis of the efficacy of different strategies.

How to Cite:

Tanner H. & Jones S., (2013) “Developing Mathematical Literacy in Welsh Secondary Schools”, Wales Journal of Education 16(1).



Published on
01 Nov 2013
Peer Reviewed