Though Numeracy and Mathematics remain difficult to disentangle we have found it useful and possible to distinguish between mathematical and numeracy tasks.

Mathematical tasks are about mathematical ideas and objects and their relations (live in the abstract).

Numeracy tasks are about concrete, context-centred phenomena (use abstract to make sense of concrete).

From this foundation we have outlined a series of characteristics of a sophisticated numeracy task:

  • – The task is about concrete objects and their relations
  • – The task is set in a context that is relevant and accessible to the student/program of study and takes the student out of their class into that context
  • – The task is presented in a format that is as close to the context as possible (given practical constraints for in class setting)
  • – The task requires shifting from concrete to abstract (abstract to computable form… or mathematize/quantify concrete situation) or from abstract to concrete (interpret results)
  • – Computations/calculations are important, but can be done by computer or other means

This list of characteristics became a foundation for the development of a numeracy task rubric. It is separated into 2 rubrics that answer 2 different questions:

  • Rubric 1: Is this a well designed numeracy task?
  • Rubric 2: How well does it provoke responses to each of the necessary actions: Define, Abstract, Compute, Interpret?
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  • Rubric 3: Even if it is a good numeracy task a teacher will ask themselves: “Should I use it in my class?”

Rubric 1. Purpose: is for the teacher/designer to assess the extent to which the task is well designed and to identify areas that can be improved.  Any task that is presented to a student can be assessed with this rubric. 

Rubric 2.  Purpose: for teacher/designer to assess the task’s ability to provoke responses to each of the following actions: Define, Abstract, Compute, Interpret. 

Rubric 3. Purpose:  for teacher who is deciding whether to use a numeracy task that passes the sophistication test (assessed at mid to high sophistication in steps 1 and 2) for students in their classroom.