Math literacy for the information age means much more than the ability
to do the simple calculations of arithmetic. In Workplace Basics: The Essential
Skills Employers Want, Anthony Carnevale includes the following categories
for computation in a technological workplace:
Quantification
-- the ability to read and write numbers, count, put numbers in sequence,
recognize when one number is larger than another
Computation
-- the ability to add, subtract, multiply and divide with single- and
multiple-digit whole numbers, mixed numbers, fractions and decimals
Measurement and Estimation
-- the ability to take measurements of time, temperature, distance, length,
volume, height, weight, velocity, speed, to use and report measures correctly;
when exact measurement is impractical or unnecessary, the ability to apply
simple estimating techniques
Problem Solving
-- the ability to use the above skills in real-life situations; recognizing
problem, gathering information, deciding appropriate mathematical steps, computing
answers
Comprehension
-- the ability to draw on knowledge and skill in the areas of equivalents,
organizing data, algebra and geometry
Math skills are necessary not just for performing on the job, but also
for day-to-day survival. You have to understand, even though you may not have
to use, all of these mathematical principles to be able to make good decisions
about your work and your social, leisure and personal goals.
In this article, we will describe and define several areas of day-to-day
activities that will require you to have a minimum level of mathematical understanding
and skill. We will give you a broad sampling of links to connect with the
ample math resources available on the Web.
This material is based on coursework developed by the Consortium for Mathematics
and Its Application in the 26 half-hour TV programs and accompanying book
called For All Practical Purposes: Introduction to Contemporary Mathematics.
Learning Goals
At the completion of all of the segments of this article,
you should be able to:
- name the chief categories of math literacy for today's workplace
- list and describe five areas in which modern society is impacted by mathematical
concepts
- use the included Internet links to get additional information about the
topics of mathematics and real-life problem solving