Quarter of English have maths skills of ten-year-old Quarter of English have maths skills of ten-year-old
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    Default Quarter of English have maths skills of ten-year-old

    A worrying outlook for a service based economy.

    “This shocking report shows England has some of the least literate and numerate young adults in the developed world."


    Quarter of English have maths skills of a ten-year-old - OECD report | The Times


    Almost a quarter of adults in England have the maths skills of only a ten-year-old, a major international study has found.

    Some 8.5 million adults, 24.1 per cent of the population, have such basic levels of numeracy that they can manage only one-step tasks with sums, sorting numbers or reading graphs. Among countries taking part, an average of 19 per cent of people was found to have similar restricted skills.

    A large minority of these have even lower numeracy skills and can manage to count and perform sums only with money or whole numbers.

    England and Northern Ireland have among the weakest levels of numeracy in the developed world, ranking 16th of 22 countries that took part.

    Literacy levels are also below average, with 5.8 million adults (16.4 per cent) reading at the level of a child in the penultimate year of primary school, which requires a pupil to read brief texts on familiar topics and locate a single piece of information in a question or statement.

    But adults are better than those in many comparable countries at performing computer-based tasks and problem-solving using technology.

    The study, by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), is the first to measure numeracy, literacy and practical skills among adults. The organisation already runs international tables comparing the performance of secondary-school age children.

    It asked a random sample of some 5,000 people between 16 and 65 in England and Northern Ireland to perform tests lasting up to 50 minutes using a pen and paper or laptop computer, and were then interviewed about their education and background. The results were collated alongside those of 160,000 adults from a total of 24 countries and regions.

    The tests are a snapshot of current skills by adults who left school from the late 1960s onwards and the results reflect the policies of governments over four decades.

    Alongside poor literacy and numeracy, however, England ranks among the most unequal of countries, with a high proportion of highly educated adults and strong correlation between employees’ skills and their earnings, reflecting highly flexible labour markets.

    Well educated adults are more likely to enjoy better health and be more engaged, active citizens, the study showed.

    Unlike emerging countries such as South Korea, which has many older people with weak literacy and numeracy but a highly educated younger generation, England’s skills gap is almost identical among both older and younger workers.

    It is in fact the only country in the OECD in which adults between 55 and 65 perform better in literacy and numeracy than young people of 16 to 24. In Northern Ireland young adults had slightly better reading levels.

    “The implication for England and Northern Ireland is that the stock of skills available to them is bound to decline over the next decades unless significant action is taken to improve skills proficiency among young people,” the OECD report notes.

    Young people in England whose parents had a limited education are far more likely to have poor reading levels themselves than in most OECD countries.

    Japan has the highest numeracy skills among adults, though its rigid labour markets mean that skilled workers are not always in the best paid jobs. Finland has the next highest numeracy levels, followed by Sweden, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, the Slovak Republic, Belgium, the Czech Republic and Austria.

    Spain has the lowest levels of adult numeracy, followed by Italy, the United States, Ireland, France, Poland and England and Northern Ireland, the OECD found.

    Matthew Hancock, the minister for skills, seized on the findings to blame Labour for poor literacy and numeracy among young people in England.

    “This shocking report shows England has some of the least literate and numerate young adults in the developed world. These are Labour’s children, educated under a Labour Government and force-fed a diet of dumbing down and low expectations,” he said.

    Chris Jones, director-general of City & Guilds, said: “We welcome this important study by the OECD and it should serve as a wake-up call to the Government and everyone responsible for education and skills provision in this country.

    “One key area for concern is the poor supply of skilled people entering the workforce compared to other countries. Employers that I speak to constantly make this point to me.”
    “We've always defined ourselves by the ability to overcome the impossible. And we count these moments. These moments when we dare to aim higher, to break barriers, to reach for the stars, to make the unknown known. We count these moments as our proudest achievements. But we lost all that. Or perhaps we've just forgotten that we are still pioneers. And we've barely begun. And that our greatest accomplishments cannot be behind us, because our destiny lies above us.”

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    Is that the top quarter or the bottom quarter or the middle quarter?
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    It would also be interesting to find out, how many of those literate kids have immigrant parents.


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    So because a quarter of ten year olds have the math skills of a 5 year old, and quarter of five year olds the skills of a two year old and so on, that might mean 1 / 4^n adults, for some fairly small value of n, have the maths skills of an embryo
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    The legacy of educashun, educashun, educashun and using schools as social engineering expirements since the 50s
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    Quote Originally Posted by OwlHoot View Post
    So because a quarter of ten year olds have the math skills of a 5 year old,
    oh-dear

    Well four posters later it is approbate the statistical evidence present itself.
    “We've always defined ourselves by the ability to overcome the impossible. And we count these moments. These moments when we dare to aim higher, to break barriers, to reach for the stars, to make the unknown known. We count these moments as our proudest achievements. But we lost all that. Or perhaps we've just forgotten that we are still pioneers. And we've barely begun. And that our greatest accomplishments cannot be behind us, because our destiny lies above us.”

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    Quote Originally Posted by OwlHoot View Post
    So because a quarter of ten year olds have the math skills of a 5 year old, and quarter of five year olds the skills of a two year old and so on, that might mean 1 / 4^n adults, for some fairly small value of n, have the maths skills of an embryo
    Did the article not mention adult population?

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    Why can't they just say 2 in every 5 adults rather than using pie slices?
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    Quote Originally Posted by northernladuk View Post
    Why can't they just say 2 in every 5 adults rather than using pie slices?
    People in northern regions might not read the story if there are no pies in it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mich the Tester View Post
    People in northern regions might not read the story if there are no deep fried pies in it.
    FTFY
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