You can read more of the theoretical work that went into developing this rubric on the page with draft 1 in a peer reviewed article published in the National Numeracy Network’s journal (an open source journal): article link: “Inspiring Transfer between Concrete and Abstract Thinking Spaces” .

Here we present a few characteristics of sophisticated numeracy tasks that provided the first step in developing the rubric to help assess such numeracy tasks Sophisticated numeracy tasks:

  1. are about concrete situations involving concrete objects and their relations, not about predetermined mathematical structures.
  2. must (as much as possible) take the student away from their ‘in class’ setting and place them in a context that is concrete ‘real world’ in nature.
  3. are formatted as close as possible to the way they would be presented in the concrete context they are about.
  4. are set in a context that is relevant and accessible to the student/program of study.
  5. require shifting from concrete to abstract (abstract to computable form… or mathematize/quantify concrete situation) or from abstract to concrete (interpret results)
  6. may involve computations. The computations/calculations are an important element of numeracy task completion, but can be done by computer or other means. The actual method used is not what the task is about.

After feedback we received from many attendees of NNN conference in Albuquerque New Mexico in the fall of 2022, and the ALM30 conference in Limerick, Ireland we revised and scaled back some aspects of the rubric. We are particularly grateful to Kees Hoogland who gave us an extensive and detailed series of comments and suggestions that along with comments of others informed this next draft.

As you will quickly discern – we propose 3 rubrics – each one has a separate purpose – we have only stress tested the first 2. We have prepared a pdf version for download.

Please send all questions and comments to