South African Journal of Higher Education

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A framework for understanding the quantitative literacy demands of higher education

V Frith, R Prince


For many students entering higher education in South Africa there is an articulation gap between the demands of the curriculum and their competencies. This mismatch is particularly critical in the area of quantitative literacy (mathematical literacy, numeracy) and if not addressed, has negative consequences for equity of outcomes for higher education. There is a need to make explicit the quantitative literacy demands of the curriculum so that they can be examined critically and addressed by educational interventions and other curriculum changes. We describe our approach to characterizing the quantitative literacy demands in curricula in disciplines, by presenting a framework for analysing aspects of quantitative literacy events in the curriculum. This is useful for helping educators to recognize the demands on students’ quantitative literacy (and assumptions about students’ competencies) that are often implicit in their curricula, for the purpose of informing the design of education interventions and for developing test
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